Established in 1975, The Ensign, formerly Ensign Youth Club, is a dynamic community organisation that specifically engages with young people from different parts of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It does this through indoor and outdoor recreational activities in developing active people who are confident, independent, and have a strong affinity for the community in which they live in.
Aims and Objectives
- To develop programmes and activities to support the social, educational and cultural development and empowerment of young people.
- To develop programmes and activities to support women and families.
- To foster mutual respect, tolerance and understanding between generations and communities.
- To empower members of the local community to play an active role in their community and The Ensign.
The Ensign seeks to promote social, educational and cultural development of the local community by providing culturally-sensitive and quality services for all generations, through sustaining a strong, responsive and vibrant community organisation.
The Ensign is based in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, ranked one of the most socially-deprived boroughs in the UK in spite of bordering the city. The Ensign sits at the heart of the community, bordering the affluent Canary Wharf filled with skyscrapers and global businesses, and Tower Hill with famous and historical landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the Tower Hill Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets Memorial Park as well as remains of the London Wall.
The Ensign has a two-fold history. Firstly, its short life at the famous Cable Street, and later in the late 80’s its successful re-location to Wellclose Square.
1975 – 1989
Originally known as the Ensign Youth Club, the centre was first established in 1975, and located on Cable Street, however it was not until 1976 that the centre was registered with the Charities Commission. The centre operated here for nearly 15 years, keeping youths off the streets by providing a range of youth-focused services and projects. Most of the time, locals from Wapping and Shadwell areas would attend as public transportation was not advanced as it is today. From the very outset, the centre provided a safe and secure place where children and youngsters could interact with each other socially, and at the same time encouraged togetherness that developed mutual respect.
The main recreational activities revolved round school holidays in the form of day trips to zoos, museums, parks, as well as structured residential outings that grew their self-confidence and independence. The small centre also hosted in-door activities such as board games, football, arts and craft, educational discussions and skills development training, and much more.
1989 – Present
The new centre opened in 1989. It was a purpose-built modern centre with two main function halls. The first hall is equipped with a climbing wall and a badminton court with access to the garden through French doors. The second hall is smaller and is frequently used for a number of recreational activities for younger children as well as meetings.
The centre today continues with the same tradition it started with: serving young people with creative activities within the confines of a safe and secure place, supervised by qualified Youth Workers. These activities support social inclusion and are delivered by working with the local authority and partnership with other organisations. The centre hosts ‘Girls Only’, as well as in mixed group sessions, which try to tap into the energy of young people with the aim of turning it into creative development and practical life skills.