Polly\’s Palace of Culture

The dazzling new Salmon youth centre opened in May, a palace to replace the old Victorian settlement that has nurtured Bermondsey\’s young people for generations. Tommy Steele used to come here, and he donated professional-quality lighting for the new performance space.

A magnificent sports hall, climbing wall, kitchen for cooking classes, office space for young people starting their own businesses, counselling rooms for those needing help, a music studio and an art room offer every kind of activity to the 1,700 young people coming here weekly. Labour\’s MyPlace programme has opened 12 of these youth centres with another 57 in the pipeline, lottery money already safely committed. The dream was for a palace for young people in every deprived area. Polls asking what would stop antisocial behaviour always put \”somewhere for young people to go\” at the top of voters\’ wish lists.

I hadn\’t realised we\’d got quite so Soviet to be honest…..

10 thoughts on “Polly\’s Palace of Culture”

  1. i’m struggling to see what your problem with such a venture is. For once, this actually seems like a “community” project that i’m perfectly happy to have my taxes spent on.

  2. Plenty of youth clubs up my way – called “football clubs”, “cricket clubs”, etc, and they didn’t need tens of millions of extorted funds either

  3. Good God, all that and only 1700 users? And many of them will simply be the same person visiting several times.

  4. Echoing leftorrighty, what is Soviet about this? Seems like a sound idea.

    tim adds: It’s Soviet in two sense: perhaps I’m more sensitive to the first, having spent most of the 90s in Russia. But every little district has its Palace of Culture and dang nam it, that’s where the youth are going to get their approved culture.

    The other sense is the very Soviet idea that it’s the government’s job to provide culture to the proles. There’s long been a much more admirable side of English leftism, (based largely in the Non-Conformists) that culture is what people collectively provide for themselves, not have provided for them.

  5. I wonder how many will be visiting two years hence?
    And what the state of the place will be then?
    That will be the test as to whether its valued or not.

  6. If you read the history of the organisation (here: http://www.salmoncentre.co.uk/history)it is very noticeable that it was predominantly run by volunteers and from funds raised privately until the mid 1990s. Its only in the last 15 years that the dead hand of the State got involved. One wonders what could have happened c. 1997 that caused that?

    Equally now the State has its mitts on it, one wonders if it will still exist at all in 10 years time, let alone 50 or 100.

  7. I’m all in favour of giving kids somewhere to go, but the sums involved look eye-wateringly high. £270m for the program. If they’ve built 1/6th of it, then I guess they’ve spent about £45m which I work out at £26K/user.

    How the hell do you reach that sort of figure? The most expensive gym around here costs about £700/year. You can buy a cinema pass for £150/year. You can go skiing at the snowdome in Milton Keynes for 3 hours every week, and you’d still only rack up £4K/year.

    The youth clubs that kids need are somewhere that can give them a pool table, football table, a jukebox, a PS3, a TV and a way to buy drinks. Other than the building, it should cost a few grand.

  8. Are you sure that the ‘somewhere for antisocial youth to go’ was not a suggestion that they build a suitable prison.

  9. I’m sure somebody who needs an office space for his new business would be delighted being situated in a place where antisocial youth go, and beside a counselling room for people who “need help”. Must do wonders for business, that.

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