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Challenges ahead for Sneinton Centres

posted 24 May 2014, 08:09 by Unknown user   [ updated 27 May 2014, 06:34 ]

Alchemy's May Community Meet-Up discussed the issues facing Sneinton's community centres. The future looks bleak for the birthplace of many successful community-led projects, and while nursing homes and police stations also face closure, what place do the centres have?

Local news has been full of stories about the potential closure of Nottintone House care home, an uncertain future at the Life House homeless shelter and the possible closure of Sneinton Police Station

It seems that the real effect of austerity measures by central government is just starting to bite, at a time when the economy as a whole is said to be improving.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation:

" date, local authorities of all kinds had largely been successful in directing cuts towards ‘efficiencies’ – cutting back-room jobs and other savings. But that changed in 2013/14 when more and more cuts were carried out by ‘retrenchment’ – reductions in front-line services. This trend is set to intensify in 2014/15."

With a Local Authority strapped for cash cuts to funding for community centres seem inevitable as the Council focusses on the core services that it has a statutory obligation to deliver- such as education and childrens' services. 

However the community centres are an important focus for community cohesion, information sharing and supporting citizen-led activities, and much of this activity reduces the demand on Council services.

Above: Mapping local facilities at the meet-up

Alchemy's community meet-up on May 20th expressed strong support for all our community centres but acknowledged that they need to work together more effectively. Each centre has developed a loyal team of people working to ensure the success of the their particular facility, but the challenges ahead will need collaboration, not just competition.

One small example raised at the meet-up illustrates this nicely: If you want to hire a space in a centre in Sneinton, you have to ring round to each one separately. Where is the central booking facility?

The Renewal Trust is working with the Community Associations which run some of the centres such as the Greenway, Hermitage, BANCA and Old School Hall. These Centres need to work together in future to coordinate their funding, and are currently producing business plans.

Above: A city-wide meeting is planned for June 12th for Community Associations to map out their potential futures.

The meet-up also mapped other centres in the area which are outside that group but provide similar facilities, such as the MCO, St Christopher's Hall and the Oliver Hind. 

The meet-up identified the need for all these centres to network together and devise ways of offering facilities and services to meet local needs, focus on the delivery of priority services and develop sustainable funding streams.

Sneinton Alchemy's Community Organiser team already have extensive networks amongst the centres and concerned locals, whose input will be needed in the future to maintain our local facilities. 

The meeting concluded that the network of centre users and potential supporters was an important complement to the more formal work being carried out by the Renewal Trust and the Community Associations.