Supporting our young people
We believe high quality youth work is a vital ingredient in the promotion of young people’s safety, wellbeing and happiness. We are fully committed to ensuring all young people in Lewisham have access to the right youth services, whatever their needs may be.
The pandemic created unprecedented challenges for many young people and highlighted systemic inequalities that exist nationally. In Lewisham, we are determined to support our young people in the best way possible, to help them overcome whatever challenges and inequalities they may encounter.
Our aim is to provide core services open to anyone aged eight to 19 years (or up to 25 years for those with special educational needs and disabilities), while enhancing our more targeted provision where it is most needed.
This is itself a significant challenge with limited resources and some of our facilities are in need of refurbishment. To respond to this, we are exploring new ways of working with a range of youth service providers and finding ways to raise funds.
We have worked with children and young people and partners to develop our play strategy for the borough to ensure our children and young people have fair access to play areas and equipment.
Lewisham Youth Services
Since 2016 our youth provision has been managed by Youth First. We recently agreed to award a new contract to Youth First for four years (with an option to extend by up to two years) at a cost of £1.3m per year. This is a very significant investment in our young people at a time when the Council is facing unprecedented demands on its budget.
Youth First will deliver a needs-led service with two main priorities:
A flexible, fun, safe, educational and engaging universal offer at five core sites across the borough.
The five core sites are:
- Woodpecker Youth Club
- Bellingham Gateway Youth and Community Centre
- TNG Youth and Community Centre
- Honor Oak Youth Club
- Riverside Youth Club (this provision has been temporarily moved to the nearby Deptford Adventure Playground).
More targeted provision for vulnerable young people and families through one-to-one support and themed group work.
While we work on our play strategy and explore new ways of working and fundraising, we have awarded a contract to Youth First to run open-access adventure play sessions. We remain fully committed to the importance of safe adventure play. Access to our playgrounds remains free. Our five adventure playgrounds are:
- Honor Oak Adventure Playground
- The Richard MacVicar Adventure Playground, Deptford
- Dumps Adventure Playground
- Ladywell Fields Adventure Playground
- Home Park Adventure Playground
Riverside Youth Club
We have announced plans with our partners to completely revitalise and expand the historic Riverside Youth Club in Deptford. Renovation work has begun and will see the creation of a state-of-the-art 3G football pitch and games area, gym, indoor sports, kitchen, and flexible learning spaces for young people and the community.
In addition to new state-of-the art facilities, an inspiring programme of informal activities and training will be led by experienced Youth First youth workers and Millwall Community Trust coaches, alongside other community activities and partnerships which will be developed as the project progresses.The revitalised Riverside Youth Club is expected to open its doors in early 2024.