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Derbyshire County Council offer extension for the Gamesley Community Centre

Derbyshire County Council (DCC) have offered an extension in the use of Gamelsey Community Centre.

After making the decision to close the centre with only six weeks’ notice, the council have recognised that this put the clubs, groups and community in an extremely difficult position.

A three-month extension has therefore been offered until the closure of the centre.

With this extra time for the use of the building, campaigners will now have the opportunity to build a plan which puts the voices of the Gamesley community at the front and centre of it. 

Helen Thornhill from Move More  Glossop, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity and, with funding and the right people pulling it together, we intend to make the Gamesley Community Centre a hive of activity, with services, activities and community support.

“A place they can be part of and be proud of. We’ve got a long way to go but with DCC and HPBC working with the community we can make this happen.”

Helen, alongside Jon Pearce for High Peak, Damien Greenhalgh and Anthony E. Mckeown, have put pressure on DCC to secure an extension to the closure date of the community centre.

The group have meetings planned to support the community asset transfer with the Coop and Plunkett foundation, which will guide the newly formed Constituted Community Organisation through the process. This community group is in the process of being set up, and once it is, they will be calling a meeting for community input.

Councillor Anthony Mckeown, leader of High Peak Borough Council, said: “The centre is owned and managed by Derbyshire County Council. We know that Derbyshire County Council’s decision to close the community centre has caused much concern among the local community and the youth and community groups that use it.

“Contrary to the view being put forward by some, Derbyshire County Council’s last request to the Borough Council about the Centre was to demolish the building. We rejected that request swiftly.

“We are keen to support the community in their efforts to continue using the Centre and are urging the County Council, as owners and managers of the building, to engage with the current users, and the groups and organisations they work with, to see whether they can come to an arrangement about their continued use of the building.

“We are clear that we would support a Community Asset Transfer, subject to the appropriate checks.

“If an agreement concerning the future use of the building can be reached with the County Council, the Borough Council will do what it can to support that continued community use.”

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for High Peak, Jon Pearce, added: “It feels like we are making real
progress now. We have been calling for Derbyshire County Council to give us more time since the public meeting on Monday, February 5. 

“Since then, the community has raised more than £15,000, and more than 1,750 people have signed the petition. We now have a community group who are ready, willing and able to run the community centre. 

“Nothing is guaranteed. We are still awaiting the costings, but with a bit of luck and a lot more hard work we might be able to turn what looked like a disaster for Gamesley when the County Council pulled the plug on the Community Centre into a triumph.”

The current members are either from or once were residents of Gamesley, ensuring the Gamesley Community are front and centre of all decisions. The aim is to maintain the current groups running in the centre and to expand and enhance with other activities and services. 

Deputy leader of High Peak Borough Council, Damien Greenhalgh, said: “I am so pleased that we have been able to make Derbyshire County Council give the community more time. More information is need on the condition of the building and future maintenance costs. But we’re working on a community and co-operative solution to ensure a youth and community centre remains available to the people of Gamesley.”

They have said that funds are still needed.

Helen added: "The raffle is a great addition to the rewards, simply choose the raffle reward, pay your donation and be automatically entered into the raffle. Some amazing prizes to be won, all kindly donated by some amazing supporters." 

Derbyshire County Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Simon Spencer, explains the upcoming plan: “We’ve not used this building for our own services for many years, but we do understand how important it is for the local community, with many voluntary groups running local services from it.

“We are more than happy to give the building to the community. As we don’t hold the freehold, we need the willingness of High Peak Borough Council to transfer the land the building sits on. We do now have agreement in principle from High Peak that they are also happy to do this, subject to the community being able to show that they are in a position to take it on.

“We are working with a number of community groups, who are now working together to form a charity, and then develop a business plan to take on the running of the building.

“We will do whatever we can to support the groups while they take the time to do this vital work, and in the meantime we will keep the building open until the end of June.

“I am sure, that by working together the community can find a way to run the building themselves. There are some fantastic groups that use the building, delivering services that residents use and value.

“We have been invited to a community meeting on 15 March, and look forward to meeting everyone and discussing with them their plans for the future.”

A link to their Crowdfunder can be found here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/the-hangout-club-gamesley-youth-club#start

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