IT IS A FIGHT for survival, as Tower Hamlets Youth Sport Foundation (THYSF) tries to stave off cuts which Tower Hamlets Labour Mayor, John Biggs, is planning to the Council’s trailblazing youth sports service.
Youth and community leaders across the Borough are stunned to find that yet another much loved service is facing the chop – and utterly bemused as to what the reasons may be. Some feel it is a politically vindictive attempt to root out any service for young people which the popular Independent Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, had championed. Others believe it may be a move to get all services concentrated in multi-purpose “hubs” in central locations, where they can be delivered by generic staff and more tightly controlled – a strategy which seems to be particularly favoured by officers who are trying to restructure services to produce more easily measurable outcomes.
Whatever the reason, closing down the Youth Sports Foundation is unlikely to save money, as young people not being drawn into support are likely to pose an Anti-Social Behaviour challenge in the future, or become a drain on the health service.
Campaigners have launched a petition on the “Change.org” website, where they explain:
“The Tower Hamlets Youth Sport Foundation’s work currently reaches over 30,000 young people in schools, brings over 15,000 young people into competitive sport, over 12,000 young people into extra-curricular sport and over 6,000 young people into club and community participation. Hundreds of these children have been supported into elite and representative levels, and compete all over the UK and Europe.
“At peak times THYSF delivers over 400 hours of non-curriculum sports activity per week and without THYSF, young people in Tower Hamlets would not have the opportunity to take part in competitive badminton, basketball, cricket, fencing, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, tennis or weightlifting.
“As a consequence of these developments Tower Hamlets has soared into being one of the best sporting boroughs in London as demonstrated by recent London Youth Games finishing positions (As of June 2017, Tower Hamlets is positioned 6th out of 33 London Boroughs).
“Proposed changes to THYSF’s employment and function could see this activity totally disappear and over 10 years of progress reversed, despite the Council continuing to spend £3.8M per year on sport and physical activity, very little of which is spent on children.
“Tower Hamlets Council are currently making decisions over the future of THYSF staff and programmes, so if you feel passionately that young people in Tower Hamlets should continue to have sporting opportunities comparable or better than those which other children in London get, please sign our petition to convince the Council to continue supporting the growth of THYSF.”
Please help the campaigners’ attempt to keep THYSF doing its good work in Tower Hamlets. Sign the petition – and share this story with your social media network.
•Sign the petition here:
Tower Hamlets Youth Sports Foundation anti-cuts petition