A COMMUNITY centre in Henley received a crucial £10,000 National Lottery grant this week to help keep it open for the next year.
The Hub@Henley, in Stratford Road, was closed by Warwickshire County Council in 2012, but residents are fighting to keep it going in the face of disappointing cuts.
Fully booked for community events from 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, there is a youth club with 174 registered members four nights a week. When the council ran the centre, it was just one night a week.
Hub chairman Peter Crathorne said: “Many of us in Henley believe it is an essential part of the community and we are going to fight to keep it open one way or another until the government comes to its senses and realises that they should be providing this for the community.”
The Hub costs £32,000 a year to keep open, and on top of the £10,000 from the Lottery Awards for All grant, residents and businesses have raised £10,000 towards the upkeep.
In true community spirit, the residents of Henley have set up their own private youth club tax. They give a certain amount to the Hub each month, providing an essential steady income of around £5,000 a year.
“We thought, it used to come out of our tax, so why don’t we have our own private arrangement?” said Peter. “It works a treat, I have had wonderful support.”
One-off donations from local businesses raise a similar amount. There is a board inside the building thanking the 40 businesses who have supported the cause so far.
Residents were disappointed with the county council’s decision to cut the Hub’s funding, and after Henley Parish Council gave them a third of the money they applied for, this week’s lottery grant was much-needed.
The funds are for a joint project with the Warwickshire Association of Youth Clubs and will go towards training the 30 volunteers and four employees.
Over the next year, youth club members will be treated to pre-learner car driving courses, body image activities, anti-bullying projects, healthy living events, as well as dance and drama classes.
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