Tilehouse Street Boys Club was started in the 1920s by the Rotary Club.
Freehold of Caldicott School was bought by Colonel Harrison after de-requistioning in 1944 and gifted to the Hitchin Youth Centre Association (HYCA), which was formed to administer the gift.
Initially the club was limited to 14 year olds and above. The club flourished until the 1960’s and was often oversubscribed. Girls were admitted as members and numbers peaked at over 300, with a waiting list.
A new building was provided in the 1960’s but during this and the next decade there was a steady decline in support, in line with the pattern nationally. Membership declined to less than 30 and the site had sadly become a centre for local drugs activity.
Local government agencies used the main Caldicott school buildings at various times, which raised vital income to support the adjacent wooden building used for the club.
The government agencies left in 1984 which helped to precipitate the closure as expenditure on maintenance and security was exceeding income. The main building was retained and administered by the Trustees. A new limited company was formed (Caldicott Centre Ltd) whose aim was to raise funds and administer the building’s running costs, with HYCA providing the building rent-free whilst providing a £5,000 setting-up grant. The County Council also agreed to provide staff and grants, although this funding was later withdrawn.
Having failed to maintain the above conditions, HYCA took over responsibility for insurance and maintenance whilst the Caldicott Centre Ltd continued to raise money from renting the building, which they in turn enjoyed rent-free.
The building became increasingly shabby, costs escalated and with the additional burden of a £20,000 a year grant to Caldicott Centre Ltd, the HYCA commissioned reports from independent architects, surveyors and a consultant youth worker, together with their own fund manager, accountants and auditors, to establish a new strategy that better fullfilled the needs of the youth within their catchment area.
After much protest the Trust ultimatley gained permission to demolish the centre, on appeal and after obtaining detailed planning permission the proceeds from the land sale were invested in the interest of young people in the Trust’s area.
In 1991 HYCA was renamed Hitchin Youth Trust. Since then Hitchin Youth Trust has managed the investment to ensure that there will be sufficient funds for grants in perpetuity.
Hitchin Youth Trust is a Registered Charity whose aim is to support activities for young people up to the age of 26.