Wednesday, March 20, 2013
STOWFORD Community Centre bosses were told to rename the £1million hub when a meeting heard it will stage one of its “first” community events – two-and-a-half years after opening.
Town councillor Dawn Manley issued the thought to colleagues who were giving an upbeat update on the venue, saying that nearby residents do not use it.
“Should it be a community centre? It is not used by the community, it is a lettings hall and it’s doing very well - but there’s no sign there so the community just pass on by,” said Councillor Manley.
“When you do get a sign, have another name for it because it’s not a community centre.”
Councillor Peter Sullivan, a centre director, said that driving forces at the premises had “struggled getting the local community involved”.
However, he pointed to a soon-to-be-launched “reminiscence” project that would involve older people from the town and primary school children and Sidmouth College students.
“This will be one of our first pure community events,” he said, adding signs would soon be put in place as well.
Councillors Christine Drew and Maggie Baldwin said the centre was intended for the wider Sidmouth community to use – and all were welcome to inquire about it.
Councillor David Barratt had told colleagues there was a “misconception it is not doing that well”.
He said the hub, half-way through its second year of operations, has “improved considerably” financially after reducing its management costs.
He said the centre had built up a reserve of around three months of rental costs and its main source of income is the rental of the hall.
Cllr Barratt said the adjoining children’s centre was “thriving” and is so busy that activities have expanded into the community part of the building.
He added that there was a “low take-up of activities by the local Stowford community itself”.
The issue was discussed at a meeting of Sidmouth Town Council last Monday.