The Club was very pleased, recently, to welcome Wandsworth Council chief executive, Paul Martin, and council leader Ravi Govindia, to meet with the care leavers group during the Easter break to record a discussion for the local SWL.TV as part of its recruitment campaign to find a new Director of Children’s Services. Please enjoy the discussion here
The Club’s juniors programme is expanding, now with some 25 juniors, up from just eight last year, regularly attending and utilising a wide range of activities during the first three days of the week – sports, games, arts and crafts, and transitions, while football is the main focus for Wednesdays. The plan for Summer term is to focus on the fact that drama has now started. Four staff – two part-time and two concession workers – look after the programme, led by Daniella Fetuga-Joensuu. “Devas is trying to reach out especially to deprived groups who can benefit from our services. More so now than ever before, this service is needed,” says Daniella. “Wandsworth is a mixed area, and it is sometimes a struggle to reach our clients because they are sometimes difficult to identify.” Devas now plans to extend its outreach work with local schools over the coming months. Support for extending the Junior programme is a priority.
Music is a significant offer at Devas. Many past members have benefitted from the expert guidance and encouragement, as well as the great facilities at the Club. Over 20 years with members exploring different aspects of music production and engineering. “Some have cut discs and gained the kind of practical experience that leads onto further studies, or even a career in music. But others may just be curious to see how a music studio works or enjoy a break from the other pressures of day-to-day life” explains, Ian, who heads up the The Devas music academy. Ian is on hand, supported by a talented group of youth workers with backgrounds in music, for several sessions a week and is keen to expand the offer to members and others in the community if additional support can be found. They offer music teaching which covers the whole production process from writing lyrics to voice coaching and learning an instrument, and from performing and recording to production.
“Some young people come to the studio with a clear idea of what they’re interested in, in which case we can work with them to develop that interest and build their skills. Others just enjoy music and are curious to see what happens in a studio. We are there to given opportunities to all,” Ian says.
It is clear music can have a positive impact on mental health concerns. “Wellbeing underlies all of the activities at Devas,” Ian says. “We would really like to do more to proactively promote positive mental health through music.”
Ian and his team are keen to expand its potential and the trustees have agreed that fundraising for additional staff time will now be a key priority. It is also hoped to expand commercial booking and usage of the facilities, working with local schools.
If you are interested in supporting this work, please click here.
The Men’s Match
In recent years the men’s match has often been keenly fought. This match however proved more one-sided once Devas had penetrated the Univ defence. Goals came regularly so much so that Devas team,, enjoying themselves, had reached 8-0 at half time, exploiting some weaknesses on the Univ side. In the second half Univ came back with fresh gusto, but despite several very narrow misses, in the end they just failed to score, much to the disappointment of spectators and players alike. The final score was somewhat shrouded but was certainly in double figures. This match was in contrast to a recent duel which had ended – memorably – at 4-4 with an equalising goal from Univ with the final kick. With Univ students coping with ever more commitments, it is proving harder to find time to train and play.
The Women’s Match
The Devas team once again showed their all around superiority storming into a healthy lead despite lending a couple of players to their opponents. The match was played in a good spirit and much enjoyed by all with all round encouragement to both teams, from coach Dave Crilley. Devas led by 7-0 at half term and this increased in the second half, with Devas proving themselves generally fitter, more skillful and more savvy, especially in front of goal. Credit goes to team captain, Manhoor Rauf, who led her team ably. It bodes well for Devas that another women’s team was also in action at the weekend.
The Trustees were hosted at University College by the Master (head) Sir Ivor Crewe, himself a trustee, for a dinner to mark the retirement of John Clarke from the Devas Board last year after 10 years of service, latterly as the Chief Operating Officer. In his remarks thanking John for his many contributions to the Club, Dr Paul Flather (now the longest serving trustee with 30 years service), paid tribute to the work of all fellow trustees but especially to John for his knack of bringing in new faces and new partners to the Club. This outreach work has greatly benefitted the Club both in terms of developing fresh local links, and of producing new users of the Club’s excellent facilities.
Welcome to our second Devas Newsletter, which is designed to keep you up-to-date with the latest news, views, activities and fundraising linked to our Club – now in its 144th year. As our logo designates, Devas is about offering a range of opportunities to local young people’ and all of us associated with the Club are proud of what we currently offer. As our Chair of Trustees, Andrew Griffith reports in our forthcoming Annual Report 2017-18: “Our Club shows itself in good health and continues to provide a fantastic range of activities and opportunities for its members. Our
membership numbers – more than 200 regular participants and 400 joining our activities – are at record highs as detailed in this report, and our buildings clearly demonstrate the benefits of the investment programme undertaken over recent years. Our efforts on income generation are also beginning to bear fruit.”
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.