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“Footwork has enabled us to continue to run a youth club that is open to all, relevant, and attractive to the young people of Lambeth ”

Martin Long, Founder at Knights Youth Centre

Creative Wick

Knights Youth Centre

Knights Youth Centre (KYC) has delivered a service for young people aged 8-21 in Lambeth continuously since 1936.

Their aim is to ensure that each young person is equipped and confident to make informed choices that enable them to lead successful lives. They do this not just at their centre on the Clapham Park Estate, but by delivering street, school and community-based programmes to provide opportunities ranging from employment support and work experience to sporting and creative activities. They also deliver a wide range of offsite trips and residentials throughout the year.

What did we fund?

Footwork has provided unrestricted support over a number of years, to enable KYC to continue to offer an active youth centre and much-needed support to local young people from a variety of challenging backgrounds, along with an effective youth engagement programme.

We have also funded two collaborations between KYC and Brixton-based social enterprise, We Rise, enabling young people from adjoining neighbourhoods to share skills and co-produce films about empowerment and identity.

What value did we see in this project?

KYC is an exemplary youth centre, which owns its building and has been an integral part of the community in one of Lambeth’s poorest wards for 4 generations. Several of the very active trustees attended it as children and this continuity has built a high level of trust with people in the area. For example, during the pandemic KYC was able to continue to provide face-to-face support to young people and their families on their doorsteps.

Footwork believes youth clubs provide an invaluable service which must be supported, not least because lack of provision for children and young people is at the root of social injustice. Yet it is woefully neglected. In the 10 years since riots spread from London to other UK cities, fuelled by disaffection and racial tension, rather than the promised improvements in youth services, 130 London youth clubs have been closed and funding has been reduced by over 40%.

The work done by KYC within their community directly reflects our own vision for resilient communities. Ensuring that children and young people have safe and accessible spaces - in which to have positive interactions with each other and with people they trust - is an essential part of that.

What impact has our support had?

Besides enabling KYC to continue to run their youth centre, funding from Footwork has helped KYC gain support from sources through matched funding. Our continued support has helped provide the security for KYC to operate a successful and safe space for local young people from a variety of different backgrounds – essentially to continue to do what it does so well and to be a shining example that local authorities and youth services should follow.

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