05 March 2004

A Statement on the Future of Annesley House

Annesley House is a hostel, owned by Women's Network of the Methodist Church, situated in Wimbledon and providing accommodation for young women coming to London for the first time. The original Annesley House was in Streatham, where it was a home for single mothers and their babies. After a compulsory purchase order led to its sale, the purchase of a "new" Annesley House in Wimbledon was made. It was decided that this would provide secure accommodation for women students, when it was realised that the dream of providing a home for disturbed girls would require staffing and expertise that Women's Fellowship could not provide at that time. The purpose of the house has always been to care for vulnerable young women.

Methodist Council, endorsed the recommendations of the Connexional Committee of Women's Network to close the house at the end of the present academic year and to put the house on the open market.

The Connexional Committee of Women's Network had, for over a year, discussed what the future of the house should be. Was it right that they should hold onto a valuable property that could only serve a few when the needs of so many social groups within the country were not being met for society?

In recent times, Connexional policy for prioritising work directs us towards those areas of need where the financial resources can be most effective and where the work is most productive

It was also noted that the house was in need of refurbishment and modernisation but there were no funds available to raise the standard of accommodation to a level that was at least equal to current student provision..

As a result of this decision, the full time staff of Annesley House will be redeployed, if appropriate, within the connexional team, or a full redundancy package will be offered. The present students will have their contracts concluded at the end of June and the house will be put up for sale after 31 August 2004.The deputy wardens have been notified of this decision.

"It is with real sadness that I recognise this house must close. For the last thirty-two years, Annesley House has provided a very special environment for young women in London, not least because of the excellent work of the wardens and staff of the house. I pay tribute to them all and all that they have done.

But times and circumstances change. In the light of current thinking on priorities for our work, and in recognising that there are now far more different and needy groups of young, vulnerable women for whom we do not have all the resources necessary, it no longer remains possible to reach these groups with the current provision, or to manage this house to a satisfactory standard. By selling this property, we will be able to support and reach far more young, vulnerable women around the UK than we were with a property."

Margaret Sawyer, Women's Network Secretary

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