Community Centre users fight cuts

Users of the Burton Stone Community Centre have joined their counterparts in Foxwood, Chapelfields and Bell Farm in criticising Labours plans for the future of their facilities.

Burton Stone community centre future unclear

Burton Stone community centre future unclear

A petition from the York Coronary Support Trust is being considered at a decision meeting on 27th November. The petition expresses concerns that the Council plan, to outsource the management of the centre, could lead to the organisation’s 4 fitness sessions each week being interrupted.

As at other community centres around the City, Labour are planning to eliminate all support subsidies by 1st April 2015.

In the case of Burton Stone, the centre will in future by predominately used to provide “a day activity programme for over 60 adults with a learning disability and/or autism between 9:00 – 5:00 Monday &  Friday”.

New LibDem Councillor Andrew Waller has been leading the campaign to have Council grants to the City’s community centres restored.

A grant of £15,000 a year to each would allow a part time caretaker to be employed, raising the possibility of increased opening hours and hence community use.

Most York Community Centre rely heavily on volunteers to manage and sustain them.

Labour plan to abandon community centres in York

The latest in a long list of poor decisions by the Labour Council could see four community centres in York close.

The provisional budget for next year sees all the community centres (Chapelfields , Foxwood , Tang Hall , and Bell Farm) lose their Council grants.

Typically a community centre costs around  £50,000 a  year to run with most income generated from hiring rooms.

The Council are to cut their financial support entirely leaving some of the centres with a 5 figure budget deficit.

Already the community centre caretakers have been issued with redundancy notices (although they are likely to be redeployed within the Council).

The Council says that it wishes to see the buildings transferred into the ownership of a voluntary committee with a community asset transfer by April 2015

This seems to be what has prompted the Tang Hall centre to announce that it is changing the legal status of its voluntary committee.

The voluntary committees undertake a thankless task and deserve Council support.

The Foxwood and Chapelfields centres depend  entirely on the resources of  local residents to continue, while Tang Hall was only kept going when Labour Councillors were parachuted into key roles.

Burton Stone community centre future unclear

Burton Stone community centre future unclear

Burton Stone is a larger building and its future is much more unclear.

Without caretakers, the buildings will be closed to general callers reducing their use as a focal point for neighbourhood communications. One Community Centre (Tang Hall) has already leased office space to an outside organisation.

All the Community Centres are located in what the Council regards as “deprived areas” .

The Council hopes to save £180,000 through the cuts. Most of this will come from the Burton Stone centre.

NB. The Council is planning to spend £1.6 million hosting just one day of the Tour De France cycle race.

Click here to download a full list of proposed cuts (see ref Can 12)