NOTE: This content is old - Published: Thursday, Jan 9th, 2014.
A number of community centres across Wrexham face closure unless an alternative solution is found.
In total there are 19 community centres in Wrexham, ten of which face closure in April of this year unless a transfer to an alternative source is found.
In a report due to go before the Council Executive Board on Tuesday January 14th it is stated that: “In view of the severe financial restraints facing the Council, that if Community Councils have not set a precept to cover the cost of the centres for 2014/15 or no such agreements have been reached with voluntary groups by March 31st, then the Council should proceed to close unfunded centres by April 2014.”
As of Jaunary 3rd nine community councils have said they will fund the community centres in their area for 2014/15. The community centres are Abenbury, Johnstown, Little Acton, Maesgwyn, New Broughton, Parciau, Pentre Gwyn, Rhosddu and Sydallt.
However a question mark remains over the remaining ten in Wrexham.
Council Leader Neil Rogers said: “There has been considerable discussion on the subject. We do not have the funding.”
In August 2013 all Community Councils in Wrexham were written to, asking them to consider three ‘funding and operating’ operations for the next 12 months.
The first option focused on directly transferring the centres to the relevant Community Council, who would then ‘meet the full operating and management costs’. Alternatively the Community Council could provide 100% financial contribution while Wrexham Council continue to manage the property.
A second option would involve a direct transfer to a local management committee, a voluntary association or community group, who would then become responsible for the full operating of the property. However it is stated in the Executive Board report that there has been some limited interest in voluntary groups taking over their local community centre.
However there has been a proposal for a management group for the community centre in Marford.
The final option states that if either of the above options cannot be achieved, or are not viable before April of this year, then the Council would need consult on the closure of the facility.
Cllr Hugh Jones said: “Negotiations are still on going, at this stage we do not know. We are working with partners and communities to facilitate. For many Community Councils this is a new concept.”
At the time of writing this report, no decision has been made by the Community Councils for centres in Bwlchgwyn, Llay, Penycae and Tanyfron. There is also one ‘Lodge’, which has had 50% of its funding agreed by Broughton County Council, however Brymbo County Council have yet to decide.
A further three community centres are under negotiation as part of potential transfer to schools. These centres include Borras Park, Holt and Ruabon where the community centre is used as the school hall. However it is stated in the report that this proposal ‘remains under discussion’, due to on going conversations with head teachers, chairs of Governing bodies and the Lifelong Learning Department.
There is also one centre that will not be funded by the Community Council and subject to closure unless an alternative management proposal is received. This centre is Kingsley Circle.