Community groups get new homes

By Ian Dipple Friday 21 December 2012 Updated: 21/12 13:06

A DEAL struck by the borough council could see a soft play centre saved from demolition and two community groups find a new home.

Councillors have given the green light for officers to begin negotiations with Your Ideas to takeover Matchborough East Community Centre in Dilwyn Close.

The group is currently based out of a shop unit in Matchborough Centre but believes the community building offers a more suitable space to provide and expand the activities on offer.

The centre was earmarked for closure in 2010 but had a stay of execution because of changes within the council’s leisure and cultural services department and a decision by the management to try and generate more business from the venue.

As part of the deal, Redditch Community Amateur Boxing Club will take on Your Ideas’ former unit as well as another empty shop in the shopping centre. The group formed in February and although it has been awarded £50,000 from Sport England to set-up a permanent home has struggled to locate a venue within the borough. It is currently operating out of Studley Football Club but if it does not find a base by March next year it will lose its funding.

The move will save the council over £15,000 a year and the rent they would receive from Your Ideas will help them make £20,000 of required efficiency savings. It will also avoid the need to spend between £25,000 and £30,000 to replace the old soft play equipment. Of the six groups which currently use the centre it is believed at least two can be accommodated elsewhere.

The transfer was agreed at an executive committee meeting on Tuesday (December 18).

Coun Rebecca Blake said: “This is a fantastic thing for Matchborough and Redditch.”

Simon Marshall, director of Your Ideas, said: “It’s nice to see the council can spot an opportunity and things are moving so quickly, in the past that’s not always been the case.

“Physically the centre is not much bigger than where we currently are but it’s a much more suitable space.”

Sarah Lee, one of the founders of Redditch Community Amateur Boxing Club, added there were still details to be finalised but they were delighted the move had been approved in principle.

“It’s an exciting prospect. Everything is moving in the right direction. There’s still a lot of bridges to be crossed but we anticipate a great new year with new premises.”

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