A Statement on the Future of Annesley House

Annesley House is a hostel, owned by Women'sNetwork of the Methodist Church, situated in Wimbledon andproviding accommodation for young women coming to London for thefirst time. The original Annesley House was in Streatham, where itwas a home for single mothers and their babies. After a compulsorypurchase order led to its sale, the purchase of a "new" AnnesleyHouse in Wimbledon was made. It was decided that this would providesecure accommodation for women students, when it was realised thatthe dream of providing a home for disturbed girls would requirestaffing and expertise that Women's Fellowship could not provide atthat time. The purpose of the house has always been to care forvulnerable young women.

Methodist Council, endorsed the recommendationsof the Connexional Committee of Women's Network to close the houseat the end of the present academic year and to put the house on theopen 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 thatcould only serve a few when the needs of so many social groupswithin the country were not being met for society?

In recent times, Connexional policy forprioritising work directs us towards those areas of need where thefinancial resources can be most effective and where the work ismost productive

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

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

"It is with real sadness that I recognise thishouse must close. For the last thirty-two years, Annesley House hasprovided a very special environment for young women in London, notleast because of the excellent work of the wardens and staff of thehouse. I pay tribute to them all and all that they have done.

But times and circumstances change. In the lightof current thinking on priorities for our work, and in recognisingthat there are now far more different and needy groups of young,vulnerable women for whom we do not have all the resourcesnecessary, it no longer remains possible to reach these groups withthe current provision, or to manage this house to a satisfactorystandard. By selling this property, we will be able to support andreach far more young, vulnerable women around the UK than we werewith a property."

Margaret Sawyer,Women's Network Secretary