Since 2010 more than 500 community centres have closed nationally. In Peterborough that figure is zero.
It’s understandable when you consider the financial strain many councils, including our own, are under following unprecedented cuts in government funding and rising demand for services.
It would have been very easy for us to follow suit, however, we’ve taken a different approach to be able to protect these important community hubs and keep them open.
Our 48 council-owned community facilities have been successfully run by voluntary community organisations for many years.
We are now going one step further and transferring full responsibility for management and running of community centres from the council to community organisations under a Community Asset Transfer Scheme.
This will save the council considerable yearly running costs, at a time when every penny is needed to cope with rising demands in adults and children’s social care and to keep open vital services such as libraries, parks and open spaces.
The alternative would be to close them, something we have strived to avoid.
We faced a similar situation with our library service, where we needed to make a saving. We managed to keep every library in the city open, for longer hours, by introducing self serve technology.
We’re currently on the look-out for new management organisations for two of our community centres, Copeland in Bretton and Thistle Drive, in Stanground, as the current groups are no longer able to continue.
Each of the centres would need to be operated as a social enterprise by a constituted group who would be responsible for overall management and generating a profit sufficient to cover day to day running costs and on-going repairs and maintenance.
Anyone interested in taking over the running of Copeland or Thistle Drive, can find out more on the Bid for a community centre page on the council website.