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About the Club

What is St Andrew’s Club and what does it do?
St Andrew’s is a community-based youth club, a registered charity, established over 150 years ago, which enriches young lives by providing a sense of belonging, fun and informal education to over 500 members each year, where they develop self-confidence, respect for others and build their abilities to contribute to society as good citizens. 

The Club is in action seven days a week. Senior Club (9-18) programmes Monday – Thursday evenings; Friday Night Club for a mid-age range group of members, aged 8-13, as well as a Karate Club; Junior Club (5-9) on Monday and Wednesday evenings; we rent out to a performing arts school on Saturday and we field football teams on Saturday and Sundays.  In addition, we run programmes during school holidays through the day and into the evenings.  Our Gym is open during the day to members of our local community. In 2020-21, despite lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions, we had 533 members and 8,549 individual attendances (excluding participation in our Virtual Andrew’s activities during lockdowns).  The Club has no religious affiliations and is open to all, with members paying only a very modest subscription. The Club has been awarded both the Bronze and Silver Level London Youth Quality Marks, a quality assurance scheme and programme accredited by City and Guilds and is working towards the Gold level. 

Since September 2019, St Andrew’s has been one of five Westminster ‘Youth Hubs’, part of Young Westminster Foundation and Westminster City Council's model, emphasising collaboration and innovation and supported to take on local leadership and forge partnerships to deliver youth-led initiatives that have a lasting impact on provisions for all young people in Westminster. 

Since June 2021 Club members benefit from weekly sessions from a Mental Health Worker, recruited via Westminster City Council/ MIND. The role involves getting to know staff and young people to provide preventative support and flag up any issues at an early stage. Research shows the importance of open access youth work and some targeted support, to help with ‘mental health and wellbeing’.  

Why does it exist?
The Club is a vital resource for the local community, providing value for money opportunities in a safe, attractive environment for young people to develop educationally, socially and personally through an exciting and remarkably wide range of sport, art, excursions and practical skills. Over 63% of our members come from Westminster and over 69% live in social housing , many on tight family budgets. 

There are pockets of extreme deprivation around the Club’s base where many of our members live:  Westminster 020B, a Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) which is ranked 3,324 out of 32,844 LSOAs in England; where 1 is the most deprived LSOA. This is amongst the 20% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country.  The Child Poverty Action Group shows Westminster is one of the London boroughs with the highest rates of child poverty (after housing costs) at 39%. The high cost of living in London means the experience of growing up in poverty is a particular hardship. Over 20% of children in low-income households in London can’t afford to have friends round for tea or a snack, compared to around 15% in the rest of the country; similar proportions can’t afford a hobby or leisure activity.
   
What is distinctive?
The Club is the only community-based youth centre in South Westminster that isn’t part of any one housing estate. It offers a ‘neutral’ environment, away from the intimidation of estate tensions, and has been providing this precious, safe and supportive environment in one form or another for many years. 

Our members can join the Club from five years old through to adulthood. This early age membership provides exposure to positive role models and inspirational leaders at the Club, many of whom were members themselves. Barry Walsh, former member and former chairman of St Andrew’s Club: “If serving young people were only about providing facilities, our Club would be little more than a sports centre. But St Andrew’s operates at the heart of its community, it has tradition; it has soul. It’s where young people undertake a host of activities in an environment of moral leadership, inspiration and support. It is a place in which respect for others is mandatory. And, something we never forget - it is a place where young people can, and should, have fun.

We offer a youth development programme to those members keen to take on responsibility and challenges and over 75% of our current youth workers were once members themselves.

Prevention is certainly better than cure and topical issues which affect members’ lives are addressed through workshops, such as gangs and radicalisation, drug prevention, money management, healthy eating, body image and social media bullying. PC Maisie Bremer-Smith 3013AW, Vincent Square Safer Neighbourhoods Team, Belgravia Police Station: “Covid-19 has had a huge effect on young people’s lives. Throughout the last year, the Club has been a lifeline for children who due to the pandemic, have been cut off from their friends and education. St Andrew’s Club has offered a healthy distraction to these young people who may have felt encouraged to breach the rules and cause anti-social behaviour. We can continue our work in the community, knowing that the Club is providing activities to young people, often preventing the need for police intervention and allowing local young people to express themselves in a supportive environment”

The Club is inclusive and welcoming and provides a place for the whole community. The well-appointed Gym which offers exceptional value for money at only £35 for the whole year, is used during the day by many local adults – particularly students and those unemployed. To join our Gym, find out more here. To maximise the Club’s assets and resources for the benefit of our members, we have long term partnerships for renting our space to other groups who work with young people in the community, where a community discount can be applied. To hire our space, find out more here.

What must be accomplished?
The importance of the Club as a vital resource to the community is recognised by key figures in Westminster. The Right Worshipful The Lord Mayor of Westminster 2019-20, Cllr Ruth Bush: “There is knife crime, there is gang crime, there is gun crime. All of those things are deeply, deeply troubling and disturbing, and a place like St Andrew’s Club makes it possible to draw people away, who are at risk of being drawn in”.

But our continued existence has become almost entirely dependent upon the generosity of individual, charitable and corporate donations. However, we are delighted that a regular contribution towards our core costs from Westminster City Council resumed from September 2019, and that St Andrew’s has been named one of five Youth Hubs in Westminster (North: The Avenues, Amberley, Fourth Feathers; South: St Andrew’s Club, Churchill Gardens). 

As a Youth Hub, we are defined as a partnership of organisations within our local area and we are collaborating and sharing learning within the partnership and beyond. We are gradually meeting with our local neighbours and promoting their additional provision to our members. 

We  are committed to sharing the aims of the Early Help Strategy 2019 – 2022, which represents a commitment from all key organisations in Westminster to create an Early Help system which puts children and their families first and strives to create a joint response to emerging needs. Part of the Youth Hub role enables us to work closely with other agencies, including the Bessborough Family Hub and the Integrated Gangs & Exploitation Unit regarding individual members of concern, vulnerable young people and their families.

However, we need to raise over £500,000 every year to keep the Club alive by providing a core of trained, committed and talented youth workers, helped by many volunteers, as well as a building, facilities and youth programmes that are fit for purpose and which can adapt to changing needs. Our latest annual accounts can be viewed here. We carry reserves in line with the Charity Commission’s guidelines.
 
We think that what the Club offers its members and the local area is priceless – enriching young lives.

"We are always impressed when kids from all walks of life can come together as they do at St Andrew's and have such fun. It epitomises what youth clubs should be doing for Great Britain."

Trudie Styler and Sting