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Improving Southall’s Young Adult Centre

Wed 22 May 2024
Ealing Council has announced that refurbishment of the Young Adult Centre (YAC) in Southall will begin on 30th May 2024.

The £1.9 million contract to do the refurbishment has been awarded to G&V Contracts Ltd. The aim is to provide a flexible internal layout for the Young Adult Centre, which will offer more options for children, young people, and other community groups to utilize the space effectively.

The total estimated expenditure for the refurbishment is around £2.4 million. This amount includes the contract awarded to G&V Contracts Ltd., contingency funds, fees, and investments in new ICT and gym equipment.


Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal, cabinet member for a fairer start said: "It was a real honour to sign-off on this contract."

"The YAC is a highly valued and important asset to the community and contributes so much to young people’s lives in Southall. And the approach we are taking to the refurbishment has been informed by the young people who use it. I am so pleased that we are ensuring its future in Southall."

Ealing Council states that "As a part of the redesign process, young people who use the YAC have been actively involved in the discussions and decisions on the lay out of the centre. They have also provided their feedback on the programmes and activities that they would like to be delivered from their centre when it re-opens later this year."


Previous history

Prior to this, Ealing Council tried to demolish the building to build a block of flats and relocate the Young Adult Centre (YAC) to a new unspecified location. These plans were strongly opposed by the local community.

For nearly two years, both the young adults who use the YAC and the local residents demonstrated unwavering support for the Centre to remain in its current location. No one listened to them.

The Council proposed that a perfectly good purpose built youth-centre be demolished and replaced by a more housing consisting of two blocks - 5 storey high-rise housing 60 flats

Young Ealing Champions were fighting to save Young Adult Centre from demolition in July 2021.


Petition against closure

On 19 October 2021, Ealing Young Champions, supported by the Young Ealing Foundation, protested outside Ealing Town Hall. They presented a petition with over 1,500 signatures to save the Young Adult Centre. Ealing Young Champion Lily Connolly Woods, 18, gave a passionate speech at the Councils cabinet meeting arguing against demolishing the Young Adult Centre.

What was Ealing Council's response to the petition and a brilliant passionate speech? There was no indication that the Council would reconsider anything.

Councillor Peter Mason, leader of the council, said: "I’d like to thank the young people who presented the petition for making the case so brilliantly for high-quality youth services in Southall. We agree with them, and we know that many people have a strong attachment to the existing Young Adult Centre in Southall" but we are still DEMOLISHING the Young Adult Centre to build more housing.

Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal, cabinet member for a fairer start, view on DEMOLISHING the Young Adult Centre was: "This is a really exciting once in a generation opportunity for Southall’s young people to work with us to design brand new youth facilities that work for them."


Consultation process

Ealing Council started a consultation in December 2021 on how it would deliver its youth services for the next three years while planning to DEMOLISH the Young Adult Centre (YAC) in Park View Road, Southall.

This "draft Ealing youth plan consultation" ran from December 2021 until 2 March 2022. The Young Adults Centre (YAC) was a purpose-built youth-centre in the heart of Southall.

Southall Community Alliance had discussed this matter at a number of their meetings and local community groups had strongly supported the building being kept open and better used. The Council have proposed that the building be demolished, housing built on the site and youth services re-located elsewhere in Southall.

There were two consultation meetings at the Young Adult Centre on 2nd February 2022 and 11th May 2022. The consultations were about what youth services do you want but not on these premises.

People were told that decisions had been made and cannot be changed. There was no indication that the Council would reconsider anything.


"Save Southall Youth Centre" campaign

In June 2022, the "Save Southall Youth Centre" campaign was set in Southall Town Hall. This campaign group consisted of experienced people who were willing to challenge Ealing Council decisions and the manner in which they were made.

The campaign was busy for 4 months, engaging with residents, distributing leaflet, putting posters in shop windows, talking to Councillors, protesting outside Ealing Town Hall, writing to the leader of Ealing Council and exploring all options open to them. Did that have no effect on the council’s plan for closure and demolition of the YAC?

On Tuesday 26 July 2022, there was a protest on the footsteps of Ealing Town Hall before the start of a Ealing Council meeting inside at 7pm.

There was no indication that the Council would reconsider anything.

On 5 August 2022, Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal replied on behalf of the council leader stating that "no formal decision has been taken" on the closure of the YAC and we should wait for the outcome of the Youth Services review.

If that was the case, why were all the councillor's saying the decision was taken years ago. Furthermore, the Youth Services review did not have an option for the YAC to remain untouched.


Change of direction

In late September 2022, Ealing Council reversed its decision. It said: "Following a public consultation that was held by the council’s Youth Service in 2022 and a meeting held by The Young Ealing Champions in 2021, young people and residents have demonstrated unanimous support for the site to remain in its current location, and to focus investment on an upgrade to the facilities that the youth centre currently offers."

That is NOT the view of those who were present at these consultations. They felt ignored. No one wanted to listen to them.

Did the NEW and ACTIVE campaign that had been going on for 4 months to save the Young Adult Centre from imminent closure and demolition have no impact? Who paid for the land? Who paid for the building? Under what conditions was the money donated? Were the donors consulted?

If residents PERSIST in standing up for their rights then the Council cannot just IGNORE them.

On 19th April 2023, Ealing Council’s cabinet approved a budget of £2.8 million to retrofit and refurbish Southall's Young Adult Centre.

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