Discussion starts on grant funding of Community Centres in York

 

The report on how part of the grants for local Community Centres could be reinstated has been published.
Sanderson House community centre

Sanderson House community centre

The centres affected are located in Foxwood, Chapelfields, Bell Farm and Heworth.

A fifth – the Burton Stone Centre – was to have been sold off to a third party operator but this has fallen through. It continues – at least for the moment – to be run by Council employees, but without a volunteer user committee.

The Community Centres running cost grants (which totalled £140,000 in 2013) were stopped last year by the then Labour run Council.

It had been hoped that the new Council, having made £70,000 available to support the centres when it met in July, would allow for the reinstatement of some caretaker roles.

In turn this would have allowed the centres – which otherwise depend entirely on volunteers –  to increase their opening hours.

A report to a meeting taking place next week offers three choices for the use of the funding.  They are:

  1. The Council could retain the £70k budget with no direct grant funding to the voluntary management committees. The budget would be used to maintain the condition of the five premises enabling funds to be directed to those buildings which have the greatest identified repair and maintenance requirements.
  2. The Council could split the £70k equally across the five centres, offering them a £14k direct grant each.
  3. A combination of options A and B to provide some direct grants, whilst retaining some of the budget for the Council to contribute to the repair and maintenance liabilities. A sinking fund would also be established to allow a planned approach to asset replacement.

Option (c) would reinstate only a £4000 a year grant to each of the five centres. See below for details

Foxwood Community Centre propsed grants

The rest would be syphoned off to pay for maintenance work at the buildings which are still owned by the Council.  As landlord the Council would be responsible for these repairs anyway.

There is a suggestion that an “apprentice” be appointed   – at a cost of £10,000 – to monitor the project.

Some people already feel that there has been too much interfering by Council officials in the work of the voluntary committees which work tirelessly to run the centres. Officials seem to want to weigh volunteers down with “service level agreements” and commitments which are simply too onerous for spare time volunteers to feel comfortable with.

We hope that “no strings” grants of at least £20,000 a year can be agreed for each centre. To allow for forward planning they should be guaranteed for the duration of at least the present Council (i.e. until 2019)

A decision on the grants will be taken at a meeting on Thursday, 3rd December, 2015 4.30 pm at West Offices. Residents may make written representations to the meeting and/or may register to attend in person and speak. (Telephone – (01904) 552062 Email laura.bootland@york.gov.uk)

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