13th November 2020: The Young Foundation is announcing today that it will be moving from its long-standing home in 18 Victoria Park Square and is in the process of selling the property. This is the end of a very significant era for The Young Foundation, but the start of a more ambitious strategy to support communities on the road to recovery from the impact of Covid-19.
18 Victoria Park Square has been the home of the Young Foundation and the Institute for Community Studies for many decades; and is held in much affection by many people. Therefore, it is important to set out why The Young Foundation Trustees made this decision. A decision which was made before the Covid-19 crisis, but has, of course, been reinforced by it.
The building has been in need of repair and renovation for many years and a structural review undertaken in 2017 identified a large number of significant issues requiring attention and investment. Prior to lockdown, the building had been consuming substantial resources to keep it open and usable by tenants and staff. At the same time, The Young Foundation has been embarking on a long-term strategy that connects ever more closely with communities within Tower Hamlets and across a widening range of different localities across the country. Maintaining a twin focus on being a good and effective landlord in a challenging building, and an organisation seeking to seriously grow its social impact, has been a sustained challenge.
Prior to making the decision to sell the property, trustees and the executive team explored a range of options for the future of the building. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become clear that like countless other organisations, The Young Foundation has changed the way it works in profound ways, which change our office needs considerably. All these factors have combined to enable trustees to be confident in the decision made.
Dame Julie Mellor, Chair of Board of Trustees said: “Throughout our time at 18 Victoria Park Square, a wonderful community of people has grown, extending over many years, and out into many other places across the UK. However, The Young Foundation is much more than a building and I am excited about our future plans to work and innovate alongside communities at a time when the need could not be greater.”
Pete Gladwell, Chair of Property Committee and Young Foundation Trustee said: “This has been a big decision for trustees, and we know it is the right one. The building has seen the Young Foundation through a significant period of its history, but doesn’t provide the best fit for the needs of a dynamic, national organisation. The Young Foundation will be seeking a new home in the East End; one that fits our purpose and the capital from the sale reinvested to drive the social mission of The Young Foundation.”
Helen Goulden, Chief Executive of The Young Foundation said: “I’d like to thank our staff and tenants, who have been very supportive throughout this process. And it is heartening to see the team’s motivation and commitment to increasing the scale and impact of our work, of which there is such a growing need. Throughout our time at Victoria Park Square, many strong and long-standing relationships have grown between staff, tenants, alumni, local charities, supporters, businesses and neighbours. We are keen to host a (Covid appropriate) gathering in 2021, where we can honour and acknowledge all those friendships and the role 18 Victoria Park Square has played in our lives.”
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