Summer 2019

In this issue

- Summer Newsletter

- Remember Devas !
- New energy-saving lights

- Devas juniors
- Petchey awards

- Trustees at the football match

- International exchange work

Featured Report:
- Making music in the Devas Studio

- Driving the club forward !

- Wandsworth heads chat with club members



Featured profile:

John Clarke

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, more recently as the chief operating officer. In his remarks thanking John for his many contributions to the Club, Paul Flather (himself now 30 years with the club), paid tribute to the work of all fellow trustees, and 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 producing new users of the Club's excellent facilities.


See our other Trustees here.


Featured fact:

Ethnic Diversity

Devas membership is ethnically diverse - with one in four identifying as mixed race, almost one in two black, one in seven as white, with a small Asian representation.


Club History:

Jocelyn Devas founded the club in 1884 shortly after graduating from University College, Oxford. He created the 'Club for Working Lads' above a coffee tavern in Battersea to provide young men with job skills. Although Jocelyn was killed while climbing in the Alps in 1885, his father encouraged and supported his college friends to continue what Jocelyn had started. The club moved to a large building in Thessally Road in Nine Elms in 1907, but due to the extensive redevelopment to create the New Covent Garden Market, it moved again in 1970 to its present purpose-built building, designed in the then fashionable concrete Brutalist style. Thanks to a generous capital grant from Wandsworth Council, the whole of the ground floor was transformed in 2013 to make it bright and welcoming and include new facilities including a teaching kitchen and large art room. Today the Devas Club has over 600 young members, and continues to enjoy the active support of University College, the Devas family and the descendants of those climbing with him on that fateful day in 1885. The main purpose of the Club's work was initially educational, but sporting and creative activities began to take precedence in the first half of the twentieth century. A separate club for girls was started in 1960, later merged with the main activity of the club. Devas encourages alumni to continue to be involved in helping the upcoming generations. The Devas Club has already helped generations of young people.


We welcome your news and views !

Devas Club

Dr Paul Flather,
the Newsletter Editor
Devas Club
2a Stormont Road, Battersea,
London, SW11 5EN
TEL: 020 7223 0297



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Message of the season:

Welcome to the Summer Edition of our Newsletter which features our Devas Music Academy studio - with state-of-the-art facilities - that has done so much to make music and singing such an integral part of the Devas offer. Our energetic music teacher, Ian Clarke, is keen to see the music studio even better used - beyond the current three days a week. The music team is also keen to explore offering music as therapy. Our Juniors programme with now 25 youngsters up to the age of 10 years attending regularly, is another area of the Club that is growing, with a wide range of crafts, sports and other activities. These are signs of a Club going forward. We also record our annual visit to Oxford, for our football matches always much enjoyed by one and all. Finally, trustees held a goodbye dinner for former trustee John Clarke.


Remember Devas !

The trustees are mindful that thus need to focus on bringing in additional funds with our developing lettings programme. More information on Lettings will go up on the website. We are also appealing to friends and supporters to whom we remain very grateful, to consider a legacy. We will share details with you shortly.

Energy saving lights on the way:

The Club has recently completed a supported programme to change all its lighting across the three floors of the building to comply with new energy efficiency guidelines. This is an important part of the Green Action Plan, unveiled by Trustee Johnny Devas last autumn. The work will be undertaken by CREW, paid for with a special grant. "This will improve energy efficiency at the club, and save us in bills over the coming years," explained Johnny. The programme, which could begin later this year, will also include a new automated heating management system.


Devas Juniors:

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.

Petchey Awards:

Fourteen members of the youth club received awards on the night, plus a leader award for one of the youth club workers. The award winners are, Darren Pase-Walters, Sybil Sewornoo, Tishayne Flemings, Abdul Rahim Abubakari, Nathan Keseka, Jeriah Johnson, Divine Obijiaku, Kaydena Smith.


Devas trustees pictured at the annual football match at the University College grounds in Oxford during half time on a rainy afternoon. From left Paul Flather; Johnny Devas; Mark Potter; Charles Dorin; Jenny Borden and Ivor Crewe. A board meeting was held after the matches.

For more pictures please visit our picture gallery here

From the Archives

International Exchange Work:

The continuing Brexit debates raise critical questions about our relations with Europe - but Devas has a long held interest in international exchanges. Some 30 years ago, for example, in 1988-89, first 10 youth workers from the Pas de Calais region of France arrived to exchange ideas and practices with their counterparts at the Club. This was soon followed by two Polish youth workers invited by the then Chair of the Inner London Education Authority, Tony Powell, who along with his ILEA colleague, local member, Paul Flather (who had by then joined the Club board) were responsible for London youth services. Next came a visit of school children from the Zakladni Skola, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, which led to visits with Club members to Southfields School, Hampton Court, and County Hall for a reception, and an evening at Devas mixing with local members. Such international exchanges serve to enrich the experiences of Club workers and members.

Featured Report

Making Music in the Devas Studio:

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.


Driving the Club forward !

The Club's driving theory test project - coming into its fifth round - is now well established and last year four more young people successfully passed their DVLA tests. This year there are eight members taking the theory, which has been led by Mark Coyle on Wednesday evenings - with two already having passed their exams. The Club is currently seeking a replacement for Mark but funding is secure to continue this activity and to include driving in the summer. Meanwhile members have also enjoyed other forms of driving experience - with quad biking, driving on the water with oars (rowing !) and even 4x4 Land Rover experience all as part of the Coldstream Guards activities held on the Thames.


Wandsworth chiefs chat with Club members:

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