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.
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