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Hogarth Youth and Community Centre: Young Lives Matter

Hogarth Youth and Community Centre: Young Lives Matter

Patrick, Jamilla and Fred

The Hogarth Youth Centre has survived losing its local authority funding. But if the team is to expand the opportunities and support it gives young people, the help of the local community is needed…

Tucked away at the end of Duke Road is a large anonymous building. With the William Hogarth School and St Mary’s RC Primary School on either side, you might assume that the block is part of their premises. In fact, it’s home to the Hogarth Youth and Community Centre, one of Chiswick’s most socially valuable and perhaps least known charities.

‘This is an affluent area, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t kids here who lack opportunities and for whom deprivation is an issue,’ says
Fred Lucas, Finance Director and Chair of the Charitable Trust that oversees the Centre. ‘Our aim is to provide a safe place for those children to play, learn, meet friends and make good choices at a critical time in their lives.’

In 2018 that vision was threatened when the Council withdrew its funding. ‘Like many youth services, we became a victim of austerity cuts,’ explains fellow trustee Patrick Brougham. ‘However, we were determined to carry on and, in fairness to Hounslow, they warned us that the writing was on the wall. At least we had time to prepare for life fending for ourselves.

‘One of our major advantages is in having such an enviable space in the heart of Chiswick. To maximise revenue we license our two large halls for events, parties, lectures and readings and our smaller spaces on a longer-term basis to community-oriented businesses such as the Acola Kids nursery, Little Forest Folk, Fitnessology, Chinese Medicine and a Martial Arts studio.’

During term-time the youth service operates Monday to Thursday in the afternoons and evenings. It hosts a remarkable range of activities which are split into junior, intermediate and senior age groups (from eight to 21) and supervised by an experienced team led by Denny Anthony and Naomi Alleyne.

The programme includes: sports (football, basketball, table-tennis, dodgeball, badminton, pool, volleyball), cookery and multimedia workshops, DJ and Mixing sessions (there is a well-equipped music studio), dance, drama, arts and crafts and after-school homework help. ‘We also try to fill in time outside term,’ adds Fred. ‘We take the kids to museums and the cinema, we co-ordinate the Duke of Edinburgh programme and, during long holidays, we run off-site residential breaks for children who wouldn’t be able to get away.’

The Trust is looking to maintain and build on its success but, of course, that comes down to resources. ‘Despite squeezing every penny from the building, we anticipate an annual deficit of £50-60,000,’ says Fred. ‘We only charge the children a nominal £1 for each session and we subsidise the café. So, raising more funds is essential. We welcome donations (follow the link on the website) and, in addition, we’d like to forge links with local businesses and encourage residents to join the Friends association and give time to assist our small team.

‘This Centre enables children to do and see things that would otherwise never be an option for them. In turn, that makes them less vulnerable to taking the wrong direction – and that must be important for all of us who live in the community.’

Youth Officer
Denny Anthony

Senior Youth Worker
Naomi Alleyne

Centre Manager
Jamilla Amra

Hogarth Youth and Community Centre
Duke Road, W4 2JR

Hogarth Youth and Community Centre
Duke Road, W4 2JR