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Published on 27 June 2023

Ambitious project to revitalise Riverside Youth Club to go ahead!

Lewisham Council and partners have announced plans to completely revitalise and expand Riverside Youth Club in Deptford.

Renovation work is due to begin this summer and will see the creation of a state-of-the-art 3G football pitch and games area, gym, indoor sports, kitchen, and flexible learning spaces for young people and the community.  

The £1.2M project is being delivered by Lewisham Council in partnership with Youth First and Millwall Community Trust. This has been made possible by a generous £745,000 grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation. This was supported by a further public campaign led by Youth First resulting in substantial donations from private donors and local trusts and foundations to secure the award.

The revitalised Riverside Youth Club is expected to open its doors in spring 2024.

Local young people have played a key role in shaping the plans by taking part in consultation and engagement activities, and we will continue to consult with the young people and community in shaping the look and feel of spaces and the activities. This will ensure that the redevelopment meets their needs.

In addition to new state-of-the art facilities, an inspiring programme of informal activities and training will be led by experienced Youth First youth workers and Millwall Community Trust coaches, alongside other community activities and partnerships which will be developed as the project progresses.

Riverside Youth Club was opened in 1967 by the legendary boxer Henry Cooper and has been used as a youth club for several decades, offering a safe space for informal learning and activities for young people aged 8 to 18 for over 50 years. It has been closed in recent years due to the poor condition of the existing building.

Val Davison, Chair of Youth First Board of Trustees, said:

"As Chair of Youth First I am thrilled about the commencement of the exciting Riverside Youth Club renovation which is being funded by the Football Foundation and many other donors, without whose generous support this much needed development wouldn't be possible. The addition of a state-of-the-art 3G football pitch and new arts, sports, and learning facilities will provide the dynamic, inspiring space that our young people deserve. Together with Lewisham Councill, Millwall Community Trust, community partners and young people, we are creating an environment where positive relationships can be forged and dreams can flourish. We look forward to Riverside’s reopening, and the positive impact it will have on the lives of young people for years to come."

Councillor Chris Barnham, Lewisham Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“These ambitious plans will create a first-rate youth club with high-quality, safe and accessible facilities. We know that local people have waited patiently for news about the future of Riverside Youth Club and we’re delighted we’re able to work with partners and supporters to finally move forward with these plans. We hope that they are worthy of the site’s illustrious history and look forward to giving young people the youth club that they deserve.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said:

“The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA and Government – to transform the quality of grassroots facilities in England by delivering projects like this across the country. 

 “Good quality playing facilities have a transformative impact on physical and mental health and play an important role in bringing people together and strengthening local communities. 

 “This grant award to Riverside Youth Club towards developing a new 3G football turf pitch and games area is fantastic news for the local community and will help give more people access to a great place to play.” 

Sir Simon Hughes, Deputy Chair of Millwall Community Trust, said:

“Riverside Youth Club has over years been a major and much-used provider of services for young people in Deptford.  Millwall Community Trust is thrilled to be a partner in this ambitious project which make a huge difference for good to the lives of thousands of local youngsters.

MCT brings all our decades of experience - pulling together the brand of our great south London football club with the offer of sport, education, good health, personal support and wellbeing.  We know that the mix of indoor and outdoor sports, education and training for apprenticeships, work and further study and building real friendships and community bonds are a great preparation for adult life.  We are truly excited, ready and waiting for the great Riverside Club to reopen again. Bring it on!"


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