Statement from Hednesford Town Council 8 December 2021
Securing the Future of Pye Green Community Centre
Following a thorough review of the performance of Pye Green Community Centre and consideration of a range of options, the majority of Councillors voted to work with 1st Hednesford Scouts to secure the future of the Community Centre for the public.
To date the Community Centre has had to be subsidised by the taxpayer, who provide approximately £58,000 per year to keep the centre running. Despite the best efforts of Councillors and Staff, the Community Centre would require an extraordinary amount of time and effort to relieve the burden from the Council Tax payers of Hednesford and this would distract from the positive efforts of the Town Council to continue the regeneration of the town for years to come.
In its discussions yesterday, Council sought to find an option for the Community Centre which both retained it as a facility for the community, minimised any impact on current users of the centre, and resolved the financial burden placed unfairly on the local community. In working with 1st Hednesford Scouts, the Council will be able to achieve these outcomes, while also safeguarding the future of Scouting in Hednesford.
Under the proposed changes three quarters of hirers will be unaffected, and the Community Centre including the Function Room will continue to be available for use by the community during the day and most weekends. Services such as Citizens Advice will continue to utilise the centre when they return to normal operations post-pandemic, and other vital community facilities, such as the Chase Lighthouse community food table, will be unaffected.
The Council is providing support and assistance to the small number of impacted hirers, with the aim of ensuring continuity of their services for the future, either at the Community Centre or an alternative local venue.
The decision will also impact of the jobs and roles of some of the staff of the Town Council and every endeavour will be made to support staff through this process for their futures. The Town Council would like to place of record their thanks and appreciation for all our staff and the work they undertake at the Community Centre and more broadly for the community of Hednesford.
The Council intends to transfer running of the Community Centre to the Scouts with effect from 1st April 2022; subject to legal negotiations and due diligence.
Speaking on behalf of the Council Cllr Kathryn Downs, Deputy Mayor of Hednesford commented “This is a positive step forwards for the Town and the Town Council which will both address the unsustainable financial cost of running the site at Pye Green whilst allowing the Councillors and staff to focus wholly on the ambitious and wide-ranging plans informed by the priorities for and from the community.
“Pye Green Community Centre will remain a valuable community asset and a centre for hire for generations to come and we are delighted to be working with the Leaders of 1st Hednesford Scouts to secure their future in the Town for the benefit of the young people of Hednesford”.