Euston student centre to close

By Marcus Dysch, December 1, 2011

The country's leading Jewish student centre is to close just three years after it opened with the promise it would "transform Jewish student life in the capital".

The Union of Jewish Students and Hillel said the Euston centre would shut on December 16 because students wanted new, "flexible" services that the central base could not provide.

The 4,000 sq ft centre opened in 2008 at a cost of around £200,000. It is thought much of that outlay will be recouped through the sale of equipment from the centre, and spent on a series of new services.

Friday night dinners will be held at sites including Great Portland Street's Central Synagogue, with social events and parties at hired bars.

The JC understands the move was largely driven by students' desire for kosher meat meals to be delivered direct to their campuses. The centre was only able to provide a meat lunch once a week.

UJS president Dan Grabiner said: "Gone are the days where you would have had to go to Hillel, now Hillel is coming to you. London will remain a top priority for UJS. Our London JSocs officer Emily Black will continue her hard work for students, to ensure that the service and provisions they need will be on offer to them."

Students offered a mixed reaction to the decision, with debate on Facebook focusing on the cost of running the centre and concerns over how the new arrangements would cater for non-Orthodox students.

UJS Hillel rented the lower floor of the building, on Euston Road, using money from the sale of the former Hillel House on Endsleigh Street. Lord Coe performed the official opening and as many as 150 students regularly used the services, including wireless internet zones, a kosher canteen and facilities for Friday night dinners

The closure comes as the London JSoc committee is scrapped. The focus will instead be on individual London university JSocs working on their own campuses, including at UCL, Kings and LSE.

Large scale capital-wide activities will be organised by a new London Jewish Societies network, run by Brunel student Ilana Sichel.

Last updated: 12:16pm, December 1 2011