Grant recipient: Avenue’s Youth project

Grant fund: agreement of special funding 2019/2020

Project: Delivery of youth services

Amount received: £65,000

Keeping our local youth centre open

Queen’s Park Community Council (QPCC) is providing a vital lifeline to The Avenues Youth Project with a grant of £20,000 a year for the next three years, together with an additional £5,000 to support a ‘holiday hunger’ programme in 2019-20. This funding will enable The Avenues to continue its valuable work, providing learning and recreational activities to thousands of local young people, helping them lead positive, creative and fulfilled lives.

For many years, The Avenues received funding from Westminster City Council. However, in 2017, the council cut all funding for voluntary youth services, and The Avenues, like many other youth centres, was left facing a funding crisis. “Youth centres should in my view be a statutory service which councils, such as Westminster, would be obliged to pay for”, said QPCC Councillor Susanna Rustin. “But at least here we have the alternative of making a contribution through the community council.” Where many others have closed, the Avenues’ Board of volunteer trustees led by Director Fabian Sharp, raised over £100K in donations from supporters and local businesses to help keep the centre open. Fabian said: “Unfortunately, this form of fundraising is not easily sustained, which makes the certainty provided by the Community Council so important. In an area of London affected by high levels of social and economic inequality and with very real risks of drug and gang involvement, youth centres can offer safe haven after school and during holidays.”

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