Hartlepool community centres need £80,000 to stay open another year

Owton Manor Community Centre in Wynyard Road. Picture by FRANK REID
Owton Manor Community Centre in Wynyard Road. Picture by FRANK REID

Councillors are asking for £80,0000 to continue running three town community centres for another year.

Hartlepool Borough Council carried out a review of Owton Manor, Burbank and Rift House community centres amid budget cuts for next year and planning for the future.

Desire to retain buildings and services in communities will continue

Denise Ogden, Hartlepool Borough Council

The review looked at the centres’ usage, opening hours, other people providing them and co-location.

At the moment no council funding has been earmarked to keep the centres open from April next year.

But officers proposed to continue to provide Owton Manor Community Centre in the with the same structure and management.

A decision on the future of Burbank Community Centre has also been deferred until alternative provision in the area is finalised.

The council is also to hold further talks with The Rifty group, who are currently the only users of Rift House Community Centre about them possibly taking over the running of the centre from the council.

The authority’s Regeneration Committee is to ask the Finance and Policy Committee sets aside £80,000 to keep the centres open in 2016-17.

Denise Ogden, the council’s Director of Regeneration and Neighbourhoods, said: “The important message is that members’ desire to retain buildings and services in communities will continue.”

Results of the review, which attracted 309 responses from users and non-users, will be fed into the council’s work on developing new Community Hubs which aim to bring different community-based services together.

The review, which ran from March 23 to June 15, showed Owton Manor Community Centre was the most well used.

Of the non-users who responded around half said they did not know what was available at the centres.

Councillor Kevin Cranney, chair of the regeneration group, said: “We shouldn’t be closing them.

“Hopefully, this will highlight to young people, who aren’t accessing things because they don’t know, what is going on.”