Birmingham-based Stonehouse Gang is celebrating its 80th birthday this year, making it one of the oldest youth clubs in the region. And to celebrate ‘The Gang’ hosted a celebration dinner inviting past and present members to come and celebrate this monumental milestone.
The club that was founded in 1938 by local journalist Harry Webb set out with the motto ‘It’s better to light a candle, than curse the darkness’. This notion came from Harry’s work as a court journalist where he reported on countless juvenile cases where the young people weren’t bad, they just needed something to do and someone to believe in them.
80 years later and the motto the club still rings true. Today the Stonehouse Gang welcomes over 5000 visitors through the doors of its centre in Selly Oak each year, and it’s one of only a few facilities in the region that operates from volunteering and donations alone, as most others closed during the austerity cuts around four years ago.
Offering a range of activities and trips away for disadvantaged young people, the club has many success stories – non-more so than the current leader of the Stonehouse Gang, Rob Green, who openly admits to “going astray” as a young person until he found ‘The Gang’. As Rob explains:
“The Stonehouse Gang was a major positive influence in my life and it continues to have that impact today. The celebration dinner is a way of marking this amazing milestone in our history.”
Over 150 people attended the celebration dinner that included a fundraising auction – over £2000 was raised overall from the event. The highlight of the evening was the symbolic nod to Harry Webb’s original vision where the eldest and youngest member of the Stonehouse Gang in attendance lit a candle, instead of ‘cursing the darkness’. Pictured below is Von Lowe and Amy Churchley
Thanks to everyone who came along and continues to support the Stonehouse Gang