The past few months have seen a number of bad news stories for Nottingham's community centres. The Chase Neighbourhood Centre in St Anns has made 30 staff redundant and is rumoured to be on the brink of closure, whilst there are reports that Neighbourhood Development Company (NDC) are looking to sell Radford's historic Tennyson Hall youth and community centre. The Chase Centre is in need of local support.
It has been suggested that with the credit crunch hitting Nottingham, local authorities may drastically cut funding for community centres and other community projects. This underlines the need for autonomous community centres, such as the Sumac Centre in Forest Fields, which continues to develop.
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The Chase Centre in St Anns, Nottingham, is still open at the moment and run by volunteers. Back in October, it was reported that they were having to make 30 paid staff and volunteers redundant. The Youth Inclusion Project was one of the schemes run at the centre that was coming to an end. Such projects aim to help young people in deprived areas develop their skills and employability rather than turning to drugs and gangs. It is not known what alternative provision will be made for those who used the scheme. Other centre users who will lose out if the centre closes include mother and baby groups and those making use of the centre's IT facilities.
This closure of a community space comes at the same time that a former community centre, Tennyson Hall in Radford, is rumoured to have been put up for sale by current owners NDC. This would seem to contradict the organisation's stated policy of "community asset base development" through which they claim to be in the process of "acquiring buildings that we can ... improve and bring back into use". The estimated £2m the property is expected to raise would, presumably, be added to the capital of this troubled organisation.
Meanwhile, grassroots community endeavours that aren't reliant on government money are thriving. The Sumac Centre's skill share programme, which aims to "build the confidence and skills of people in our community by sharing the skills we already have" continues to grow, with a one off day of non-stop skill sharing on 6th Dec. In addition, there is word on the grapevine that a new anarchist library and social space will be opening in the city soon. Keep an eye out!