120 yrs ago A H Gilkes the then Master of Dulwich College opened the Dulwich College Mission, a club for the benefit of fatherless boys in Camberwell, a notoriously deprived area of London. Later the Mission took over the Hollington Club which had also been founded in 1893. The Hollington Club for Young People has continued to support the community and local young people of Camberwell ever since.
As we celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Hollington Club we recognise the role that the Club has historically played in working with local young people. But we also recognise the vital need of the Club to remain relevant to its constituents in the future.
Youth provision has changed dramatically over this period. But many of the basic challenges remain: linked to social deprivation in all its guises.
We are immensely fortunate to have a great team of workers and young volunteers ably led by SJ. But the pressure remains to improve the infrastructure and resources to support them. The centre itself is in dire need of refurbishment both to help our work and to build other sources of revenue. By encouraging others in the community to use our facilities, we can thereby attract more young people to take part in our activities. At the same time we need to give the Club the tools it needs (whether in terms of kitchen facilities where kids can learn the pleasures of healthy eating or in learning basic computing skills).
The Club remains hugely indebted to the Dulwich College Mission for the financial support it continues to provide and for the vision that drove its establishment in the first place. We have also been supported by Southwark Council, Rank Foundation and other charities in continuing and improving our work. But the reality is that our current income barely funds our existing work let alone our vision for the future or for the refurbishment of the building.
We do hope you enjoy visiting the Club and sharing our vision for its future. At the same time we also hope you will meet the young people who make this Club the very special place it continues to be. For a more detailed history and information of the Centre see our 120th Aniversary appeal Document.