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Page last updated at 08:23 GMT, Sunday, 14 September 2008 09:23 UK

Politics Max...

Max Cotton
Max Cotton
The Politics Show

In our 'Politics Max' strand of the Politics Show, we highlight viewers' problems and try to take them to the politicians who just might be able to fix them...

Freddie Peters
Freddie Peters - a special kind of guy

A few hundred yards from the House of Commons is the Ethelred Estate.

To be frank it's pretty rough.

Kids who live there have a problem moving around the borough - Lambeth - because of turf wars and gang violence.

When I was there I was told of a Lambeth boy who rents out his gun for 50 a day.

Now right slap bang in the middle of all this is Freddie's.

It's a youth club run by a fabulously colourful character - Fred Peters - who started the club back in 1981 after the Brixton riots.

Max meets the boys
Anyone for pool?

Fred is a Maverick and has fallen out with Lambeth Borough Council, which has withdrawn its funding.

A cry for help

He wrote to me asking if we could help him.

So Ian and I, and a full crew, spent an extraordinary evening being initiated into the heady atmosphere of a night out Chez Fred.

Our task turned out not to be one of providing expertise, but one of arbitration.

As dusk fell, the first few camera shy kids started to arrive: "little tackers" in Judo kit, hatted and hooded white kids in for pool, an Ethiopian family who like it "cos it's safe inside".

The Local Councils and the police, who dealt with all the violence in 1981, would have been pleased as punch to see multi cultural South London so vibrant and good natured.

Karate kids
Karate kids - a sense of "team"

Flora, a mother of four, here told me: "Children when they come out of the club, they stiffen up, they get a heavy feeling.

"When they're in here it's lifted off their shoulders... Freddie is very familiar to all the young boys. It's a familiar place. It makes it special."

Three generations have been through Freddie's.

Changed times

The land the club stands on is worth a fortune in redevelopment.

Youth Clubs now need service level agreements and checks and balances that no one even considered 30 years ago.

Boys at Freddie's
Freddie's is the place to hang out

Lambeth Council, quite justifiably, want a measure of control over public money they use to fund Youth Services.

So what we had to do was get the Club and the Council to agree to meet.

They have and we will keep you posted on what happens to Freddie's over the coming weeks.

Both parties probably need to walk a mile or two in each others shoes.


'Politics Max' is the interactive strand, within the Politics Show, which deals directly with your own concerns and complaints.

Max has already solved a number of tricky problems - here are just three...

Politics Max

Max is always looking for more of your political problems to solve.

So if you need help to tackle the powers that be, from parish councils to EU officials and everything in between, then email Max and the team on politicsshow@bbc.co.uk - or use the e-mail form below...

The Politics Show is on Sundays at 12.00pm on BBC One.

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