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Help us SAVE Riverside and unlock £830K investment

Riverside Youth Club is a much loved, well-used and iconic centre in one of London’s most disadvantaged areas, but in recent years the building has become extremely dilapidated. 

With your support, we can restore and modernise Riverside to give young people the sports, health and wellbeing centre that they deserve. 

Help us raise £350,000 by 12 January to unlock the potential of a further £830K investment for the centre.

This money will kickstart the Riverside Restoration Dream Plan - a project that embodies the desires of many local people to make the centre more accessible and safe, while empowering local young people with lots of new opportunities.

We're working in joint partnership with Millwall Community Trust and Lewisham Council to make this dream a reality.

Check out our short video above to hear what youth leaders and young people have to say about the importance of Riverside Youth Centre to the community, some of the current problems they're facing and the impact of a restored centre.

The Fundraising Challenge

We are fundraising to execute an ambitious £1.18m proposal, in partnership with Millwall Community Trust, to modernise the iconic Riverside Youth Club with new sports and wellbeing facilities for young people and their families on the Evelyn Estate, Lewisham.

We have been working with the Council, Millwall and the Football Foundation since 2018 to develop the plan, in consultation with young people and the community. We now have full planning permission.

We are now submitting our full grant application to the Football Foundation, and have secured other funding and pledges, all totalling £830k. In order to secure this major grant, and make the dream plan a reality, we need to raise the remaining £350k by January 2021.

With this investment, we can give young people the best chance of the future they deserve. However, without this investment, this iconic but run-down building will close, which would be a devastating loss to our community’s children & young people. 

Give now > 

Why now?

Riverside Youth Club was opened in May 1969 by the legendary boxer Henry Cooper. Generations of young people have grown up playing sport, taking part in activities and learning life skills at what has for many been like a second home. Badly planned design changes in the 1980s and poor maintenance has resulted in non-DDA compliance (making upstairs inaccessible), worn-out sports facilities, failing lighting and heating and a building that is far from fit for purpose. Without urgent renovation, Riverside will close within 5 years.

Who is this for?

The Club welcomes some of Lewisham’s most disadvantaged young people on the Evelyn Estate, in the 10% most deprived wards in the UK. An estimated 43% of children live in poverty1 with the youth population expected to rise significantly in coming years. Obesity levels in the area are high and physical activity is low. Last year, the Club provided youth work sessions, including sports, to 321 local young people. 78% of attendees were BAME, compared to 66% of the Lewisham population. Riverside young people and their families have been hard hit by COVID-19. Your donation could help local young people overcome trauma, mental and physical health needs, poverty and disadvantage over many years.

With a better, bigger, more inspirational centre, we can work with far more young people (1000 a year), offering a positive place to play, learn skills, get active, get help.

1 http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/poverty‐in‐your‐area‐2018/

Give us your thoughts on the plans to restore Riverside

We've already had feedback from the local community about this project but the more we get the better! If you'd like to give feedback on why you think this project would be a fantastic move, please do!

Have your say >


Riverside Sports and Wellbeing Centre vision

“Is this really all for us?”
-Young person attending Riverside

With the funds that we raise we will provide innovative, aspirational and sustainable sports and wellbeing facilities for young people: 

  • Open 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm 
  • Staffed by professional youth work and sports coaches
  • Football and multi-sports games, coaching, leagues and qualifications
  • Events, festivals and celebrations
  • Healthy food, nutrition advice, cooking and shared meals
  • Sports and youth apprenticeships, training and support for youth social enterprise
  • Mental health counselling, workshops, prevention programmes, referrals
  • Community and family-friendly events and support
  • Encouragement for the physically inactive to get fit
  • Careers coaching, CV skills and job prep
  • Involving young people as centre decision-makers, advisors, peer motivators and volunteers

Consultations: What the community says

We've consulted over 150 people from the community inclduing adults, parents, young people, our youth workers and community groups - in face to face sessions

At one of our consultations during a weekly open-access session, we spoke with 31 young people aged 13-19 attending the seniors session. We asked for general comments on the building plans and what activities they wanted to do outside on the MUGA and 3G pitch and in the building.

General comments:

Young people were universally positive about the plans.

“From what I see, it looks good. I just can’t wait that long – we need it now!”

“It needs young people involved in it so that everyone respects it, doesn’t drop litter or trash it”

Concerns were expressed about how long the build would take and about what happens while the build is taking place. Young people said they still need a youth club available.

“It’s great and everything, but I don’t want it to close – where will we go?”



The Partnership

This project is a partnership between Youth First, Millwall Community Trust and London Borough of Lewisham (who own the building and will fund many of the activities that take place). 

Youth First

Youth First is Lewisham’s largest not for profit  youth service, with 10 clubs and adventure playgrounds across the borough. Youth First’s aim is to grow and sustain youth work in Lewisham. Evidence shows this regular contact with a youth worker has a big impact. It keeps young people away from trouble, helps them build positive relationships and helps them to be accountable for their actions. You can find out more about us at our website www.youthfirst.org.uk and download our annual report. Youth First is a community benefit society registered mutual, no. 7363. 

Millwall Community Trust

Millwall Community Trust (MCT) uses the unique power of sport, health and wellbeing and the Millwall Football Club brand to break down barriers. They improve sport participation through inclusive activities and education opportunities targeted where they are needed most, irrespective of young people’s starting point. MCT are a true community partner. Find out more at www.millwallcommunity.org.uk. Millwall Community Trust is a registered charity, no. 1082274.

How can you help?

1. Donate

Donate directly to this life-changing project. Any amount, large or small, will make a difference and help us reach our target.

Ways to give:

  • Online
    Give online using our JustGiving campaign page: justgiving.com/campaign/riverside-lewisham. Boost your donation by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate. If you prefer to give directly you can also donate on our website at youthfirst.org.uk 
  • Bank Transfer 
    Make a bank transfer to Youth First Ltd sort.30-65-38 acc.16450168
  • Cheque 
    Send a cheque made out to Youth First Ltd, sent to 185 Brookehowse Road London, SE6 3TT. Include a Gift Aid form downloadable here so we can claim up to 25% Gift Aid on your donation.
  • Give as you earn 
    Give as you earn through CAF Giving. Ask us, your employer, or donate online through the CAF website (search for Youth First Ltd). CAF take a 3.8% commission on donations.

2. Fundraise

You can create your own fundraising page on JustGiving and help support this cause. Simply visit our JustGiving campaign and select “Start Fundraising”. Why not run a fun event or challenge with friends and family? We can send sponsorship forms and help in other ways. There are so many fun, exciting and cool ways that you could raise money. Here are just a few ideas including socially-distanced activities:

  • 20K Bike Ride 
  • 10K Run or Walk
  • Pub Quiz
  • Online Games Night
  • Turn your bake sale into a delivery service
  • Get artsy
  • Offer a photoshoot (if you're any good!)
  • Draw portraits

Use your imagination and skills to create your own out-the-box fundraising ideas!

3. Support

Young people at Riverside Youth Club are planning their own fundraising events. Why not get in touch to see how you can help them raise money?

Helping us find other potential donors and supporters

We are keen to build relationships with a variety of individuals and organisations either with a connection to Lewisham borough or a desire to improve young people’s life chances who could support this campaign by giving funds. Do you know anyone else who might be interested in supporting the project? If so please share this campaign with them and invite them to contact Fundraising Manager, Claire Styles.

Contact us directly

To contact us directly, email clrstyles@gmail.com or phone Fundraising Manager, Claire Styles, on 07825 290 600.

Download Save Riverside Prospectus in PDF >

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