The Devas features in a lively local history film produced by a primary school, reviewing the history of the nearby Winstanley and York housing estates, charting urbanisation, modernisation, cultural change and the sale of council housing. Locals would go down to the Devas or Providence clubs to play table tennis, football, to watch tv, or simply ‘chill’ (or even to ‘party’!). We are proud to have developed the Club offer down the years, and to continue to play a significant role in community life. Enjoy the film on YouTube below.
The Devas Club recognises the importance of climate change alongisde so many others. We are committed to being an environmentally responsible organisation – and over the last nine years we have sought to reduce our carbon footprint, down from over 66 tonnes per year to just 52 currently. This is despite increasing numbers of people using our building, which also now operates seven days a week. This has been achieved by installing PV solar panels on the roof; a new boiler; localized efficient water heaters; insulating the ceiling of the Main Hall, and adding secondary glazing to the second floor windows. We have also installed a ventilation system on the ground floor to improve air quality.
There is still much to be done. To this end. the Club’s trustees have just agreed a new enviromental ‘green’ action plan for the coming years. Read more about our objectives including reducing water use, plastic and paper consumption, action on health lifestyles etc, which we want to build into the ethos of our club and as an example to all our young members. Please read our action plan here.
A friend of the club, D’Angelo Ferlance-Oduye, has sadly lost his mother and only parent at the age of 21 to cancer. Not in a stable financial position, he is having to crowd fund to give his mum the send off that she deserves.
D’Angelo was a popular regular who spent a lot of time with us in the club’s recording studio. He performed at many of the club’s showcase fundraiser events, often being the highlight of the show.
Please help us support him by making a donation here: https://www.gofundme.com/mumsdyingwish
Since Josie’s amazing run in the dessert which raised such a huge sum for the Devas – where she was loved and admired senior youth worker in charge – she has continued to go forward in her career.
She now works as a motivating personal trainer; she continues her fundraising work for young people; and she is preparing for her 31st marathon.
She is trained as a fit-box coach, High intensity training instructor, and remains of course a very keen runner – as she needs to be to keep up her marathon running.
It was in the autumn 2016 that Josie launched her fundraising campaign ‘Josie in the Desert’ to raise funds for the Devas, [check out her extreme performance which led to £ 5,000 pounds raised on justgiving.com for ‘Devas Juniors’ – see here News Archive ].
Since then she has performed for a year in the successful ‘In the Heights’ musical at the Kings Cross Theatre, and then started working for Groundwork London on their Gangs prevention team, while continuing her motivating work as personal trainer.
For Josie, sports and running is more than sweating and personal tests – it’s also about helping young people and supporting charity. Currently she is raising funds for the young people linked to Groundwork London.
Earlier this year, she ran her 30th marathon in support of the UK’s children charity, NSPCC, even completing two marathons in one week.
In February, Devas Club members made their annual visit from south London to the hallowed portals of University College, founded in 1247 making it one of the oldest colleges at Oxford University. The Univ-Devas link is 144 years old, since the Devas family, led by the parents of a University College student tragically killed near Zermatt in a climbing accident,, set up the club in Battersea to support disadvantaged youngsters in memory of their dead son. The 30-strong party which included men and women’s football teams were welcomed at the gates by Club Trustees and began their visit with a hearty brunch in the famous hall, Here Paul Flather, who has involved with the Club for 30 years now, and has long worked at Oxford, introduced students to Oxford and Oxford life and answered questions about studies and life in the university. Several previous heads of College had been trustees with the Devas Club.
The Devas party, including a few youngsters who were keen to explore access to study at Oxford, accompanied by Mark Clay and senior coaching staff, were then given a tour of the College library, chapel and memorial to the famous poet Percy Shelley, by two college students – Imogen Thrussell, who is now in her fourth year studying an Masters in Physics and Rebecca Williams who is in her first year studying Experimental Psychology. They were able to answer all the questions raised (see images).
This is the second year that a women’s match has been arranged between Devas and Univ, with the Univ women still easing in to the role,. They were given a free coaching session by Dave Crilley, our women’s coach, high in the FA pecking order, which was much appreciated. Once the match kicked off, the Devas team soon showed themselves on top, and with goals coming regularly eased into a 9-0 lead by half time, ably led by the team captain, Manhoor Rauf who is the female rep for the south London region with the FA. Even so the goalkeeper and captain of their team – Georgia Allen who is studying History and Politics and has played football since she was young, woman of the match as it turned out – led by example, defending her goal well. The second half was more relaxed and the official result was recorded as 9-3 with some judicious refereeing and some friendly play and Georgia playing half the match as centre forward (see images).
In recent years, the men’s match now celebrating some 20 years in the current run, has often been keenly fought, and the match was no exception with Devas just about on top in the first half by 1-0. A recent match had ended memorably at 4-4 with an equalizing goal from the Univ in the final kick of the match. After half time the Devas team displaying greater exhuberance and skill gradually came out on top, with the final score 4-1 in their favour (see images). The Devas captain Tevon Webster, showed his paces, and was adjudged man of the match. It was satisfactory result as the team had managed to leave its kit at the youth club. One team member only made just before half time, having gone back to retrieve the official kit. The enhanced of being in team with a single kit may well have helped Devas in the second half, as Misha Jones the Univ captain who is studying Russian and Czech languages agreed light-heartedly afterwards.
As usual, team members, coaches, trustees and supporters, gathered in the Univ College bar for a final farewell and a drink before the Devas party headed back to south London after another enjoyable and successful visit. There was plenty of hot food on tap, pizza and burgers and plenty of takers. Paul Flather rounded off the day with some congratulations to the two players of the teams – the two captains, the staff from the Devas side, and above all to the University College side, the food and bar staff, the ref, and of course the head of the College. Sir Ivor Crewe echoed his own thanks and promised tougher matches in the years to come as the women’s team continued to develop and the men’s worked harder on tactics. The Devas then made their way onto their coach parked on the High Street in Oxford outside the college and headed home – with all their kit safely on board. Until the next visit.
During the annual visit to Oxford to play football martches v teams from University College, the Trustees held one of their board meetings at Univ College, while the two teams showered and changed. The board was able to confirm new fund-raising plans, work with the varioius partners and tenants at the Club, and review links with the College, joined by the Master of Univ, Sir Ivor Crewe for this meeting. It was also confirmed that John Clarke would be appointed Director of Operations, with Andrew Griffith, our current Treasurer elected as the new chair. Also attending were Mark Potter and Paul Flather
The planned new reading area for the Devas Club’s new reading initiative has now been set up – with an area of bright comfortable chairs and tables.
The initiative is winning support from members and visitors – and the Club has been very pleased by various book donations in recent weeks. At present the club is open to further donations. Please contact us via the contact us link.
I DID IT – I have successfully completed the Grand to Grand Ultra! After 53 hours 10 minutes and 56 seconds on the course, I came 53rd out of 113 runners, 15th female out of 38 women! & 3rd in the female 40-49 age category.
Thank you for all your wonderful words of encouragement and donations, it really will make a difference to Devas Juniors, which relies solely on funding to continue. Devas is a charity that delivers creative, educational and fun after school activities for children. Through Devas, we hope to steer young people in the right direction in life.
It was the most gruelling 170miles I’ve ever ran! Day 3 (52.5miles), almost had me keeling over. Climbing up the sand dunes on my hands & knees, speed walking alone in the dead of night, coyotes barking in the distance, sleeping every night in freezing conditions in wet clothes & snoring tent mates! Climbing canyons so high that when I finally reached the top the view was so epic it literally left me breathless, coupled with altitude sickness & vertigo!
Reading can unlock ideas. It can also unlock the past, the present the future. This is why we are launching a new library for members at at Devas. It is also a way to integrate further into our local community – which is excited and willing to donate books to us to grow our library.
We at Devas – trustees and working staff – recognise that many of the young people who come to Devas, can have problems with their schooling because they do not have a strong enough habit of reading. This is true even in this digital era – so much depends on reading, and particularly at school.
“We realised that more important than the lack of books at home is the lack of a reading culture at home. If parents and families do not have a reading culture reading can be seen as another of the impositions of school, an imposition from an environment in which many young people do not feel supported.,” explains current Chair of Trustees, John Clarke.
The Club is responding by encouraging a culture of reading – beyond merely studying a smartphone ! We hope the books will be accessed by all those passing through the club – from members to parents waiting to collect young people or even those attending various courses here.
“We are keen to help develop a book culture for everyone who comes here – young people both Junior and Senior, and all adults,” according to the trustees. The aim is to build up a reading culture.
All books are donated by local people – who would otherwise clear their bookshelves to charity shops. Devas is open to take every offer right now. Donations so far include a range of cooking books, ‘Airport’ novels by Dan Brown, a climbing guide to Clan Berris, several books in French, numerous football annuals, and a large number of early reading books. Future plans include working with the local Book Trust based in Batteresea.
Anyone is free to take the book home – if this encourages someone to read then we have done our job, we simply record it in a ledger. We will also be subscribing to a small number of magazines such as The Week (Junior version).