Centre of Attention


In the second of a series of articles by those who have benefitted from the existence of Wanstead Youth Centre – which is under threat of closure – Zaida Hussain reports on the work of REAL Initiative

REAL Initiative is an organisation for home-educated children and their families. It is a community voluntary group dedicated to promoting active lifestyles and fostering a sense of camaraderie among children and adults in our neighbourhood.

We provide team sports for children who are not in mainstream schooling for varying reasons, so as to ensure they are still able to have a physical education and interaction with their peers. We organise sporting sessions at Wanstead Youth Centre, and we’ve been doing so for over 10 years now. We also set up sessions for parents to give those who are educating their children at home the opportunity to meet others and keep their own mental and physical health in good form.

So, Wanstead Youth Centre is an integral part of allowing us to continue doing what we do. We have tried other halls and facilities in the past but none offer the value and service that Wanstead Youth Centre provides.

It has been a vital hub for our sporting activities, providing a safe and inclusive space where people of all ages can come together to participate in various athletic endeavours. The closure of the centre would be devastating to our group and the wider community we serve.

Wanstead Youth Centre is more than just a building; it is the heart of our group. It has witnessed countless moments of growth, joy and personal development for the children and adults who have participated in our programmes. It has become a place where friendships have blossomed, aspirations have been nurtured and talents have been honed.

The loss of Wanstead Youth Centre would not only affect us as a group, but it would also leave a significant void in the lives of the children and adults who have come to rely on this vibrant community space. It would rob them of the opportunity to engage in healthy physical activities, learn important life skills and build meaningful connections with their peers.

We firmly believe investing in our community’s future means investing in the spaces that allow us to come together, learn and grow. The closure of Wanstead Youth Centre would send a disheartening message about the value we place on the well-being of our residents, particularly our children.

It is vital to consider the immense positive impact this invaluable centre has had on our community and the potential consequences of its closure. We must ensure future generations can benefit from the opportunities and experiences it offers.

Wanstead Youth Centre is located at 144 Elmcroft Avenue, Wanstead, E11 2DB. For more information on the Save Our Wanstead Youth Centre campaign, visit wnstd.com/sowyc or call 07403 649 306