The Devas club is a registered charity (no. 1129419).
The Charity provides a youth centre for the purpose of engaging and educating young people up to the age of 25.
Devas is committed to making a positive impact on young people’s lives and produces a wide variety of activities to support physical, mental and spiritual growth in its members.
The Devas club is run from its own purpose-built four-storey building on Stormont Road, Battersea, London. Devas has provided a variety of activities for young people from this location since 1970. Over the years some of the activities provided have changed considerably. A dance studio, a recording studio and a silk-screen workshop now inhabit the space that historically housed a rifle range. The main floor also houses several social areas, a computer suite, table tennis hall and an art room. The upper levels provide a large gym with weights room, and several meeting and rehearsal rooms. There is an enclosed Basketball court on the roof.
By integrating into the broader community young people feel part of that community. A Community Café is run on two weekdays and local groups regularly hire space.
In 1884, Jocelyn Devas, a graduate of University College Oxford started a ‘Club for working lads’ in a room over a coffee tavern in Stewarts Road, Battersea. Two years later in 1886 Jocelyn was tragically killed in a climbing accident in Zermatt. Jocelyn’s Father enlisted the help of his Son’s friends, and funded an initiative to carry on the work that Jocelyn had started in Battersea.
Arthur L Harding was one of these friends, and was the guiding influence in successfully renovating and then moving to a larger premises in Thessaly Road in 1907.
The main purpose of the Club’s work was initially educational. As this function began to be fulfilled by the London County Council’s evening classes, sporting activities began to take precedence in the Devas Club activity programme. A club for girls, sharing the same building was started in 1960.
The move of the Covent Garden market to Nine Elms entailed the compulsory purchase of the Thessaly Road property. The City Parochial Foundation acquired an alternative site for Devas in Stormont Road and commissioned the building of the present accommodation. The building was officially opened in 1970.
The Devas Team – the Trustees, staff, and management – and the members are hugely grateful to the organisations whose generous sponsorship supports our work. There is a constant need of funding for our youth projects, the maintenance of the building, and the supporting activities which make this possible.
We work closely with Wandsworth Council for their expertise in youth work and their financial contribution to staffing and running costs.
We have a special mention and thanks for major and regular sponsors. The Worshipful Company of Girdlers has supported Devas since its earliest days, and we are still benefitting from the generous support of the Worshipful Company of Grocers in creating the studios.
The other great supporter since the earliest days has been University College, Oxford.
The current trustees are:
John Clarke (Chair of Trustees)
Sir Ivor Crewe
Dr. Paul Flather
Change is a continuous process at the Devas Club. We started planning major refurbishments works in 2005, received planning consent in 2008 together with majorfunding from Wandsworth Council for Phase 1 of the works, and this was completed in 2013.
This has transformed the whole of the ground floor, changing it from a gloomy, rather forbidding area with bare brick walls and small windows into a bright modern facility with a new enlarged entrance, at bright art room, a large teaching kitchen and café area, improved IT, three general-purpose rooms, and enlarged garden courtyard and accessible toilets. The double-glazed wall giving onto the courtyard brings light into the games area, prevents us heating most of east Battersea in the winter and effectivly limits the amount of animated noise and music spreading to our neighbours’ gardens.
In 2014, again with grant from Wandsworth Council, we have renovated the roof sports area, making the steel cage structure safe, replacing the old floodlights with eco-LED lights and installing rubber sports flooring.
Currently we are fundraising to replace the gas-gussling boiler, not only to save significant energy and costs, but also because the boiler manufacturer went out of business ten years ago.