Posted on: 24/08/2021 in: News
Young Ealing Foundation's Young Champions have launched a campaign against Ealing Council’s decision to turn a popular youth club in Southall into flats.

The Young Adult Centre (YAC) has been a safe space and community to many young people in Ealing since the 1980s, yet now the youth centre is at risk of permanent closure with Ealing Council planning next steps to demolish and redevelop the site for housing.

The YAC is a youth centre servicing the children and young adults of Southall.

It brings together different communities, provides leisure activities and support for people of all ages and is a safe haven for deprived communities who are at risk of violence and crime.

Southall is in the top 20% of the most deprived wards in England, and services like youth centres prove vital in keeping children off the streets and reducing local crime rates, through increased social interaction with others, and providing a space to widen interaction with other people and cultures.

With only three purpose-built youth centres in the entire borough, the closure would result in an already deprived demographic.

In the last 10 years, two youth centres have closed in Ealing, including one only a few streets away from the YAC.

The neighbouring borough of Hillingdon has seven youth centres and Hounslow has five despite Ealing’s youth population of 108,400 being over 35% higher than Hounslow's and nearly 60% higher than Hillingdon's.

The Young Ealing Champions is a committee of young people, supported by the Young Ealing Foundation, who represent the diverse voice of young people in Ealing Borough.

Young Ealing Champions are leading and undertaking all the work related to the campaign to save the YAC from closure.

Kari, 19, who's a Young Ealing Champion said: “I've been going to the YAC since I was 15, I went there every week and met new people there and made a lot of friends.

"Children and young people go there for an escape, they go to learn, they go to socialise.

"Parents and families often come down too.

"The young people that use it come from diverse backgrounds, and range in age all the way from five to 16.

"I now work at the YAC with these children and see personal progression in them that would be impossible without the facility and the opportunities it provides for the community.”

Jamal Edwards, MBE and Founder of SBTV, said: "I attended The Young Adult Centre in my early days when I first was starting my music and media career.

"Without support from youth workers there, it would have been difficult to start SBTV.

"Youth clubs provide a huge range of opportunities for young people from different backgrounds and provide a safe space and trusted relationships for those who might not have that elsewhere."

Ealing Young Champions have launched a petition calling on Ealing Council to reconsider its decision to demolish the YAC and to re-establish it as a thriving community hub.

Petition link: