Campaigners taking on town hall to keep Isle of Dogs youth club open
- Credit: Mike Brooke
Young people are campaigning to stop a youth club being closed down on the Isle of Dogs.
They plan a deputation to Tower Hamlets Council while a law graduate is getting a petition together.
Five staff running St Andrew's youth centre in Millwall have been given redundancy notices with 50 other council youth workers.
One campaigner, Ibrahim Kargbo, said he was always on the streets because of friction at home.
Now at 18 he’s off to university to study music and media — thanks to a helping hand from St Andrew's.
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“I found it hard to interact while Mum was looking after three kids,” Ibrahim recalled. “I always ran into the streets to avoid being at home.
“But one day I was taking my time walking home when a youth worker invited me in. It was a whole different experience and I felt I suddenly belonged. It really sparked my interest.”
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The club gave him a guitar which inspired him to improve his school work and eventually put him on the path to university.
Ibrahim said he could not understand why the club is set to be closed.
"Younger kids won’t be able to experience what I did. It’s just not right.”
He and 40 others have started a #SaveStAndrews social media campaign.
Law graduate Camila Consolmagno, 22, whose 17-year-old brother Gabriel makes it his "second home", said he is "one example in hundreds" that the youth centre has helped.
She has written to the council’s head of youth services about St Andrew's in Masthouse Terrace, off Westferry Road, which organised Millwall’s Island Unity Festival in 2019.
Camila told the East London Advertiser: “Closing St Andrew’s has been put back to September, which gives us time to campaign.
“There are no facilities for young people on the Isle of Dogs. This club is their refuge outside school.
“Young people need refuge off the streets. This isn’t the safest area — where else can they go?”
The Advertiser contacted the council on July 27 asking what alternative provision was being made and about any public consultations. We have had no response.