Plans by a local charity to create a new youth club for hundreds of young people were given a boost this month with a £100,000 grant. Fitzrovia Youth in Action (FYA) were awarded the money by LandAid, the property industry charity.

Young men playing football on 5-aside pitch.
LandAid awarded a grant to help plans for a new youth club next to the Warren Playground at Whitfield Place.

In making the grant LandAid recognised the need to fund youth activities because, despite the neighbourhood recently having a reputation for sales of luxury flats, it is an area with social deprivation.

“Poverty and unemployment rates are high amongst vulnerable young groups. Local charity Fitzrovia Youth in Action finds the majority of the young people engaging with its work are from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds and are entitled to free school meals. Unemployment is particularly high amongst BME groups,” says LandAid.

Paul Morrish, chief executive of LandAid, said: “We’re delighted to be able to award this great charity essential funds for a really exciting project.”

The grant will go towards fitting out of the basement of Suffolk House, Whitfield Place, part of a scheme which has been developed to provide 13 affordable homes by Origin Housing and long-standing LandAid supporter Derwent London. The housing will be completed in April.

Gareth Jones, director of development at Origin Housing, told Fitzrovia News: “We are glad to hear that FYA’s application for funding has been successful which will allow them to fit out new office and community facilities located in the basement of Suffolk House and we look forward to welcoming them as partners on the project.”

The new premises will enable the charity to increase capacity and improve their services for 300 young people who will be supported in the new space, through participation in education and sports activities.

LandAid partner Land Securities will also provide free advice in running the premises.

FYA who are based in Warren Street still have to fundraise to meet the full project costs from other sources of funding but hope to submit a planning application to Camden Council in the near future to convert the basement storage area into a youth club.

Andre Schott, director of FYA, told Fitzrovia News: “We are obviously very excited about having been awarded this grant. We are very grateful to LandAid for their support, and to Derwent London for kindly agreeing to make the space in Suffolk House available to us in the first place.

“As part of our strategic plan, we have developed the vision which focuses on engaging children and young people initially through drop-in and sports activities, involving them in a range of youth-led community volunteering programmes while they are teens and offering them mentoring and employability support as they reach young adulthood.

“Having a decent sized activity space for young people will bring us a step closer to realising this dream and what better place for this than right next to The Warren play area and sports pitch!” he said.