Community centre to be handed to residents who fought to save it from closure
Haywood Road Community Centre will be transferred into the management of local residents after Councillors approved the plans.
Cabinet members agreed to transfer the lease of the centre to the Haywood Road Community Association (HRCA) subject to legal approval.
The council saved the centre, based in Mapperley, from closure in January 2017 after they listened to local residents concerns about a lack of alternative community centres and the desire to retain the neighbouring green space. Since then, the council has invested £20,000 into improving the centre and, most recently, made a successful joint funding bid with the HRCA from FCC Communities Foundation for a new £140,000 play area that opened in September.
The centre has been transferred under the council’s ‘Community Asset Transfer Policy’, which gives organisations wishing to take on responsibility of their local community centres, opportunity to do so. They have to fulfil a number of stringent criteria before it can happen, which includes consultation with stakeholders, getting public liability insurances and providing the council with a robust business and financial plan to ensure they have the capacity to run the centre both physically and financially.
The HRCA is now a registered charity which means it can access certain funding unavailable to local authorities that could be used to improve the centre. When submitting their application to become the leaseholders the HRCA stated they would be committed to developing the centre and be a listening and responsive organisation on behalf of users and the wider community across Mapperley.
This is the second centre that has been transferred over to a local community organisation under the council’s Community Asset Transfer Policy. Arnold Hill Community Centre was transferred in 2017 and has become a success under the new name, Eagle’s Nest Community Centre. As Government funding is reduced more and more, Gedling Borough Council has had to look at ways to reduce spending on non-statutory services, which includes community centre. The asset transfer scheme allows proactive communities to take over and develop centres and it offers financial saving for the council on the upkeep of the centre.
Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke said;
“I am very happy that we’ve been able to support the Haywood Road Community Association to take over the running of Haywood Road Community Centre. We are a listening council and when they told us about their concerns, we took the difficult decision, based on our current financial situation, not to sell the land but to give the local residents the opportunity to take it over. We wish them the best of luck and I have no doubt, from meeting the committee on several occasions that they will do their best to make the centre a success and accessible to local residents. I would also like to thank our staff who have worked tirelessly to get to this point which requires a lot of legal checks as well as making sure it’s in the best interest of the council and residents for us to transfer the ownership over.”
Leona Dunleavy, the Haywood Road Community Association Chair said;
“This is a further hugely important milestone for the local Mapperley community. Having saved the Centre from closure and wider site from development, we have now secured the transfer of the Centre from Gedling Borough Council and we are grateful for the support of the community and for the confidence of Gedling Borough in allowing us this opportunity. We have great plans for the Centre which is thriving, having already been the subject of significant investment and we welcome new users and local people to come and get involved in this vital community asset.”