Summer 2018

In this issue

- First Devas Newsletter

- A Reading initiative

- Uganda Outreach Programme

Featured Report
- Devas links with Oxford

- Club Members performing

- New fund-raising drive

- Women's football established

- Devas in Battersea local history


Featured Profile:

Andrew Griffith

Andrew Griffith, is Chair of the Trustees of the Devas Club. He is a chartered accountant and for his day job he is Finance Director of an industrial company, Safetykleen. He has been involved with the Devas Club for over 20 years, in the role of Treasurer since 1995, and he became Chair of the Trustees this year. He has also been on the Board of the Sage Gates-head, one of the UK's leading arts venues. He is passionate about the role that Devas can play in helping young people to gain the experiences and confidence they need to fulfill their potential.


See our other Trustees here.

Featured fact:

Women at the Club

More than one third of the current Devas Club membership is female (38%) - from more than 5,000 members who attended and participated in activities during 2018.


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 to those climbing with him on that fateful day on 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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Welcome to the first Devas Newsletter, designed to keep you up-to-date with the latest news, views, activities, and funding-raising linked to our Club - now in its 144th year. Devas is about 'creating opportunities for young people' and all of us, associated with the Club down the years, are proud of where we have got to - and our current offer. Each month we will offer a profile of someone connected to the club, news, activity report, a key fact, and an intriguing Endnote. We are also announcing the launch of a new fund-raising drive - and will return to that in future issues. Please also visit our website-which is being steadily revamped and contains our - privacy (GDPR) rules and we welcome your news and reactions.


Devas launches fund-raising drive:

The Devas Board of Trustees led by Mark Potter and Jenny Borden, is launching a fund-raising campaign to maintain the upgrading of the building, and to develop the scope of our activities shortfalls. We aim to raise £50,000 over the next 12 months, for four Projects:

  • Music programme - to provide expanded tuition and support for choirs and bands, to help develop a life-long love of music and singing among all Club members;

  • Our Juniors activities (8-12 year olds) - to hire a specialist youth worker to develop junior activities, especially in performing arts, crafts, skills, cooking, football and other sports, and discussion of current issues.

  • Modernisation work - this continues with a priority is to bring up to contemporary standards the almost 50 year-old windows in the Main Hall, to conserve heat and reduce any noise nuisance to our neighbours, reducing heating bills and cutting down noise in our main halls

  • Support team - more support is needed to keep track of our growing range of activities, as our team is now stretched offering frontline activities and sports.

Please read more on our website here. Join our mail list, or donate to us via this Just Giving link.


A Reading initiative

Reading can unlock ideas. It can also give insight into the past, the present the future. This is why the Club has recently launched a new lending library open to all those associated with Devas. We also believe it is a way to integrate further into our local community - which is excited at the project and has been quick and willing to donate books to us to grow our library. "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," explains former Chair of Trustees, John Clarke.

Club members are is free to take a book from the Devas Library home. All books are donated by local people - who might otherwise clear their bookshelves to charity shops. The library is open to offers - whether thrillers by Dan Brown, football annuals linked to the world cup, on climbing guides. Read full story on website here.


Club members performing at a recent Showcase event

For more pictures please visit our Picture Gallery here


Uganda Outreach Programme(1992)

Each issue we plan to visit the archives and remind ourselves of past achievements in our history. We are going back 25 years this time to recall one of many international Youth partnerships - this one linking Devas with a Ugandan college for young people. Steve Beckett, then senior youth worker, led a group of youth workers and professional teachers, which set out to repair the roof of Mubende College. Read Steve's diary here plus his briefing on snakes, long lunch breaks they 'had to take due to heat', even his safari. The trip was one of many that saw youth teams and theatre groups from Northern Ireland, Poland, former USSR etc, visit Devas, organised with the Battersea Arts Centre, the British Council, and other bodies - often with Rotary Club support.

Featured Report

Devas maintains strong links with Oxford:

The Club was born out of a bequest from the Devas family in memory of a family member who graduated from University College, probably the oldest in Oxford founded in 1247. The Devas family, inspired by the work and memory of Joscelyn, tragically killed in a climbing accident, set up the club in Battersea to support disadvantaged youngsters. Today, Club and College enjoy positive links enhanced over the past 50 years with the head of Univ, Sir Ivor Crewe, (Master), serving on the club's board of trustees - and the famous annual football match between club and college, recently extended to include a women's match too. These links are encourages one of our long-serving trustees, Dr Paul Flather, an academic at Oxford for more than 20 years. It is hoped more Univ students might visit the club and even use facilities like the state-of-art recording studios. Read more of the most recent visit by 30 strong Devas Club members to the hallowed portals to play their annual football matches, including a group keen to know more about study opportunities at Oxford, a hearty brunch, an introduction to Oxford life, and a tour of the college. For more about the visit and the matches, see here.


Women's football match established

For the second year, Devas women's football team played a Univ women's team - and the hope is the tradition is now established. The Univ women are still learning their craft as was evident despite a free pre-match coaching session by Dave Crilley, our women's coach, high in the FA pecking order. Devas, ably led by team captain, Manhoor Rauf, who is the FA female rep for the south London region, soon showed themselves on top, with goals coming regularly, leading to a 9-0 lead by half time, Even so the goalkeeper and captain of Univ - Georgia Allen who is studying History and Politics and has played football since she was young - led by example, defending her goal well, and in a more relaxed second half scored goals up front. For the final score, and more pictures see here. The Men's match was as ever more keenly fought, though Devas skills and exuberance won the day. Read more here.


Devas features in Battersea Estates local history

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 here.