Monday 1st February 2016

A Greenwich youth centre is hoping to paint a brighter future after reaching the final of a UK-wide competition.

Hawksmoor Youth Club is one of four charities or community groups to make it into the final of the Johnstone’s Trade Community Spirit competition. Based on Oriole Way in Thamesmead, Hawksmoor Youth Club is now hoping to come out on top in a public vote to win a redecoration makeover of its facility worth up to £10,000.

Well over 100 charities and community projects from across the UK submitted applications to the competition, run by the leading paint manufacturer Johnstone’s Trade.

A judging panel selected the final shortlist of four based on criteria such as the impact the project has on the community and the urgency for redecoration.

Delivered by Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) and part of the Royal Greenwich Youth Service, Hawksmoor Youth Club has served the community for more than 40 years and is seen vital to helping young people achieve their full potential. The club helps young people between 10 and 19 years of age and works with those with special needs up the age of 25.

Among the activities they provide are cooking sessions, health and fitness classes, arts and crafts and workshops for completing CVs.

Claire Hallinan has been the unit manager of the youth club for three years and in that time has seen the number of youngsters using it double.

She said: “Hawksmoor Youth Club has been part of the community for more than 40 years and helped so many people in that time. “The youngsters love it because it is theirs but it needs work to make it look a more vibrant and welcoming place for more people to visit.

“We currently have around 30 to 40 people using the club but have the capacity for 100 and part of the problem is that the club does look rundown. The youth club helps so many youngsters in the area stay clear of anti-social behaviour and it is why we need to do all we can to attract more people use our facilities.”

As well as CACT who deliver the project, Hawksmoor Youth Club’s quest to win the Johnstone’s Trade Community Spirit is being supported by Charlton Athletic Football Club.

Paul Elliott, a former Charlton defender and Trustee of CACT, urged people to vote for the youth club. He said: “I know Thamesmead very well and as a youngster I played football around the streets near to the youth club. It’s vital to the community and it is in need of re-decoration. The makeover will help it so much and help draw more people to its services and activities.

“Young people in the area may be at risk of being involved in anti-social behaviour and Hawksmoor Youth Club works to prevent that by offering a range of activities.  We need people to get voting.”

Other shortlisted community projects come from Glasgow, Rotherham and Nottingham.

Richard Mazurkiewicz, marketing manager for Johnstone’s Trade, said: “We had a high number of fantastic entries and there were so many worthwhile projects that it made the shortlisting process extremely difficult. However, Hawksmoor Youth Club and the three other projects in the final all do fantastic work and would all be very worthwhile winners.

“To win a redecoration makeover will make a huge difference to the winner and we are proud to be making a real impact.”

To vote for Hawksmoor Youth Club, please visit before February 29.