Grant Amount £27,000 over 3 years

Westminster House is situated in Nunhead (Southwark), an area beset by a range of inner-city problems, including high unemployment, crime, drugs, violence, a high incidence of underage sexual activity, etc.

Approximately 70% of their users are from Black and minority ethnic groups. Very few of their users come from two parent families and many come from households where there is drug and alcohol abuse or where the address has been brought to the attention of the anti-social behaviour unit.

They have “looked after” children and children identified as “in need” by social services, amongst their client group. The Club is right in the middle of the “no mans land” between rival gangs which has been highlighted in the national media and which has resulted in shootings and gang violence.

At Westminster House they are aware of the circumstances which can militate against their young people achieving, but they have confidence in their ability to rise above the low expectations placed upon them.

Westminster House currently offers the Duke of Edinburgh Award at Bronze, Silver and Gold level. Their young people are not the regular face of Duke of Edinburgh. They would not access the opportunities offered by the Award anywhere else except at the Club.

Their external evaluation (November 2013) said their delivery of the award “Several club members told the evaluator how their initial reluctance to embark on the DofE was overcome when they saw how much faith the club’s leaders had in them, and their ability to be successful. All were glad to have done it, even though they acknowledged how hard it had been. Gaining an award demands sustained commitment and endeavour, and the different sections – service, skill, residential, volunteering, and expedition – foster useful job-related skills like teamwork.”

Re-engaging young people with their community via volunteering as well as building team work skills and giving them an experience of outdoor pursuits has long term beneficial effects for their members and enhances their employability.