Hogarth Centre hit by closure

The Hogarth Centre closed its doors on Saturday 28 March. The Centre, which had been doing well with fundraising following a new initiative to involve the local community in fundraising efforts to provide youth services, will now struggle to find funds to continue.

But they say: “We are absolutely determined to return from this enforced period of hibernation, reopen the Centre and restart the youth programme as soon as it is practical to do so”.

Before the Corona virus

Since Christmas the centre has recorded a 14% year on year increase in youth programme attendees. January and February saw a 38% increase in attendances which included a successful February half-term programme. The youth team delivered this 3% below budget.

“The Centre’s submission for the London Youth Silver Quality Mark was very well received” says Chairman Fred Lucas “and we are confident that we will secure this shortly”.

Funding and Awareness

The youth team won a £7,500 Council grant from its Reducing Violent and Serious Crime Grant Programme. They have also gratefully received a £1,000 donation from the Good Luck Charity and £500 from the Rotary of Chiswick and Brentford including Hammersmith. Prior to the shutdown, the Centre had secured a new long term licensee to occupy the only vacant room, found new short-term users of both halls and agreed inflation-linked license fee increases across the Centre. They continued with essential maintenance and also installed the Centre’s first defibrillator to protect both young and old Centre users.

There was to have been a second Open Evening on 14th May to raise the Centre profile with local residents’ associations and church groups, led by Pam Morrow, but this has now been cancelled.

New to the team

Our new part-time Centre Manager, Eilis Devendra, brings a wealth of  useful charitable experience. Jamilla Amra ensured a smooth transition during March and continues in her original role of Centre book keeper.

We have welcomed Jonathan Walker, a retired banker who lives locally, to the Board of Trustees.

Impact of Corona virus

From mid-March attendance numbers and licensee business activity both tapered rapidly. The government’s tighter controls on gatherings and movement left all licensees unable to operate and the youth programme without attendees as parents elected to keep their children at home. We offered to support three local schools with their care programmes for children of key workers, but they were able to cope with the limited numbers attending.

On Saturday 28th March we therefore closed the Centre for all activities, saving money on heating, lighting and cleaning. This is the first time in the Centre’s 50+ year history that it has been forced to close. The second Open Evening on 14th May has been deferred.

The Future

Every UK charity is experiencing difficulties. We have fortunately built some limited financial resilience since starting our journey of independence in January 2019. We continue to minimise expenses and operate as efficiently as possible, adapting as necessary. April sees the Youth Team and Centre Manager working from home and redirecting their efforts to fund raising opportunities.

We are absolutely determined to return from this enforced period of hibernation, reopen the Centre and restart the youth programme as soon as it is practical to do so.

We are especially grateful for your continued support during these most challenging times.

Once again I ask you please to let us know of any organisations, trusts or foundations which you think might support our work.