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Providence House

July 2014 | by Ian Henderson

More than 500 people attended Providence House’s 50th anniversary, on Saturday 10 May 2014, including the deputy Mayor and local MP Jane Ellison.

People came from almost every corner of England, reconnecting with their association with the iconic Battersea Youth Club. Many had not set foot inside for more than 20 years.

There were displays of photographs from the past, and events held throughout the day, while the evening showcased the history of Providence House and where its future was heading.

In the evening, a live concert shook the building in a joyous final celebration of the anniversary, but Providence House stayed standing, and intends to carry on providing Battersea residents and their families with a caring and inspiring haven that they can depend on for the next 50 years.

The event, held from 12.30pm until 11.00pm, saw people arriving throughout the day, and even after 10.00pm due to work or family commitments.

For the first part of the day, a service of celebration was held, with about 170 seated guests, where the story of Providence House was told through pictures, film and personal testimony from former and present members, straddling the 50 years.

This was led by Robert Musgrave MBE, director of youth and community work at Providence. Rev. Edgar Daniel, former chairman of the Shallowford Trust, gave the closing address.

Firm foundation

A tribute was made to the late founders of the work, Elizabeth Braund and Rosemary Bird, and several people spoke movingly of how Providence had changed the course of their lives. More of the story was captured by visitors writing in a memory book or on a large timeline; as well as a recording session for visitors to tell the story in their own words.

The success of this work is built on the foundation of those who have given so much in life commitment to this community and its young people. Foundational to it all is the underlying sense of Christian mission.

‘Except the Lord build the house, its builders labour in vain’ was quoted on several occasions, and in his closing address Rev. Edgar Daniel urged that the firmest foundation for the future of the work must be Jesus Christ, and his purpose, inspiration and strength.

One of the founding members of Providence House Youth Club Trust, a retired minister, recently commented that ‘places like Providence are needed more than ever. Do not let it be lost’.

Ian Henderson