Thursday 31 March 2016

Brent Council has ignored Community Asset Transfer expression of interest for Wembley Youth Centre claim - the Centre closes tomorrow

Jaine Lunn submitted this as a comment on my posting about tomorrow's closure of the Granville and Wembley Youth Centres LINK. I think it deserves a more prominent position.

The article in the Brent and Kilburn Times you referred to to in your earlier posting  LINK  is not factually correct: 
"Granville in Anson Road, Cricklewood, and Wembley in London Road, will close for good on Friday, after the town hall failed to find an outside organisation to take over its day-to-day running."
Wembley Crime Prevention submitted an expression of interest in a Community Asset Transfer in early February of this year for Wembley Youth Centre. Brent Council  confirmed receipt  and acceptance of the Expression of Interest but so far WCP have not received a  further response from Brent Council. 

Wembley Crime Prevention has been to every community meeting and consultation with regard to Youth Services Provision in the borough.  Muhammed Butt himself is well aware of how important Wembley Youth Club as a base for Wembley Crime Prevention's projects and WCP's  active campaigns "Just Don't" refering to young people carrying knives, and their petition to ban shops from selling knives to under 21 years old without ID, along with active involvment in mentoring and mediation in preventing gang activity in KFC and MacDonalds particularly in Wembley but over the whole borough.

I have also heard from a reliable source that Roundwood will close too, as only 3 staff have been retained for a further 3 months as a ploy to " make it look good until the dust settles" as I understand they have been discussions with the YMCA who wish to run this facility, which is the only way they may have a chance of getting any young people through the door.

Wembley Crime Prevention have, and were until yesterday, running most of the projects at Wembley Youth and Community Centre, along with Junior Collins who has been employed by Brent Council as Youth Leader at this facility for 25 years. Boxing classes for Male and Female Youth, Self Defence classes for Females, Taekwondo, Basketball , Football, Street Dance, Homework Club, Mentoring for Young People who have or are susceptible to being involved in Gang culture. The majority of assets housed at this Youth Club are owned by Wembley Crime Prevention charity, and they have consistently invested in upgrading the facilities such as installing a new kitchen and bathrooms a few years ago. 

These projects have and still are being funded and supported by "Children in Need" and were featured on the recent fundraising live programme on BBC1 in November 2015 aswell as BBC News London. WCP is also funded and supported by Wembley National Stadium, Sport England, Mayor of London Fund, Edward Harvist Trust, Grassroots, Asda Wembley, MacDonalds, Daniels Estate Agents and the now defunct Ward Working fund of Brent Council. All Youth projects have now been temporarily suspended as of yesterday because of Brent Councils decision. So where does that leave the young people of Brent? 

Will they go the Roundwood Facility? I doubt it. It is common knowledge, and it has been outlined at many community meetings, the only reason the Roundwood facility would be kept open as a hub is purely because of the financial implications incurred by Brent Council. Roundwood was funded by £4.997 million from National Lottery, and it would involve a payback the same as Stonebridge Adventure Playground if it were closed. Roundwood has never been popular or utilised by young people or ever would be for many reasons, one of which it is only open for 4 hours a week, 2 hours on a Monday and Friday and has more staff than patrons, runs no projects, and despite having "state of the art facilities", and where its situated.

However I do question the role of Brent Youth Parliament ( whom the council continue to finance at a cost of £60K per annum) who is purported to play a "valuable role within the Council's decision making process" surely we should have heard something from them, as it has been reported they would be part of the consultation process and strategy for the future. I would have thought they would be shouting from the rooftops " save our Youth Services" if only to protect their own existence. Sad to say I have not heard a whisper or seen any comments from anyone representing BYP.


Philip Grant said...

Wembley Crime Prevention appears to have done valuable work for the community for three decades, and if Jaine's comment / blog above is correct, then this charity appears to have been badly let down by Brent Council.

It is interesting to read on Wembley Crime Prevention's website that the following are "Associates" of the charity:
Cllr Muhammed Butt - Leader of Brent Council
Cllr Krupa Sheth - Wembley Central Councillor - Brent Council
Cllr Wilhelmina Mitchell Murray - Wembley Central Councillor - Brent Council

The website defines the role of "Associates" of the charity as follows:
'These positions are bestowed upon people in recognition for their support, commitment or contribution towards our partnership work within the community.'

I wonder what the many young people who have benefited from the charity's projects at London Road now think of the Council Leader's 'commitment and contribution towards [its] partnership work within the community'?


Anonymous said...

I am completely appalled by the decision of Wembley Youth club closing down! This youth club has opened so many doors for young people and the staffs absolutely put their soul and dedication towards helping the young people. To note, I have been going to the youth club for over 14 years and for it to close down is a shame and a let down for youths! Junior Collins (Youth club manager) managed so many projects (Driving, Boxing, Muaythai, Taekwondo, Street dance, Music and Football etc). I would say that I learnt most of my skills and discipline from the opportunities that was given to me in the youth club. I was a young member attending the club to a staff as a youth worker. Even after leaving the employment I missed the club and yet learnt so much from this club. The club and the people working there have made a lasting impression to me and all the people who come there. It is sad that the new generation will not have role models and gain skills that will make them employable in the future.

I can only say that the opportunities that was once out for young people are closing down each day and snatching out every single chance from this generation.

Big loss!!!


Martin Francis said...

Thank you for your comment Sarosh. Your comments are very similar to those made by people when Stonebridge Adventure Playground was closed. Many of the play workers there had attended as children and then got trained up. They contributed so much to Stonebridge as a community and were a positive role model for youngsters. So much more than bricks and mortar is lost when these facilities are closed down by short-sighted politicans.