The council have announced plans to finally undertake some works on the gym.
There is an exhibition at Heatham House this Wednesday, 17th July 2013 between 16:00 and 20:00.
We would like to see some friendly faces there and will be sending a representative down for 18:00.
The plans will be on show and there will be chances to ask questions regarding the plans and how that affects the club going forward.
This is an opportunity to give young people and the wider community a greatly improved facility.
The official press release can be found here: CLICK HERE
Our response to the press release, as issued to the Richmond & Twickenham Times is as follows:
Statement from the Friends of Heatham House
Carl Broadhurst, chair of FoHH, said:
“We welcome this refurbishment but, since the funding for it has been in place for three years already, it is long overdue.
The council withdrew its original planning application because it wanted to replace Heatham House and push an unwanted replacement on the community, which young people wisely rejected. We see this as three years of wasted time.
We are concerned that the proposed refurbishment is not what young people have asked for, particularly as the music venue will resemble a classroom more than a performance space. This is perhaps an example of council officers imposing their own ideas of what young people and the community wants. Another concern is that memorial artwork will be removed as part of the proposals.
Meanwhile, a number of important issues continue to affect Heatham House, such as a reduction in staffing levels, music rooms being replaced with offices and equipment falling into disrepair. The loss of half of the grounds at Heatham House has also made a casualty out of the new low ropes course.
The community has made its feelings clear to the council on numerous occasions and said it is willing to work with the local authority but, uniquely, the council does not show any willingness to involve the community in its plans. It is, perhaps, because the council has started its own youth services business, Achieving for Children, that it regards the community and charities as competitors rather than potential partners.
We remain mystified as to why the council halted the original gym redevelopment but went ahead with an expensive overhaul of a meeting room at Heatham House, which had no value in terms of youth work delivery, while apparently trying to close the youth club altogether.
We urge everyone from the local community to attend the consultation at Heatham House on Wednesday 17th July at 6pm.
If you would like to contact The Friends of Heatham House our email firstname.lastname@example.org