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Victory within reach in the fight to save Gamesley community centre

A group of volunteers battling to save Gamesley Community Centre, currently home to the estate’s only youth club, are confident its doors will remain open after hitting 50% of their fundraising target and securing a three-month extension from Derbyshire Country Council.

Since hearing in late February that the council cuts would see the Centre close at the end of March, a group of seven volunteers joined forces to save the club.

From raising money to creating a business plan to successful influencing Derbyshire County Council to grant a stay of execution, in just four weeks the volunteers are now feeling confident that Gamesley Community Centre will not just remain open but become the heart of a largely neglected community.

“Over the last 14 years, community facilities have gradually disappeared from Gamesley as funding bit but closing the Community Centre was the final straw so we had no choice but to stand up and fight,” said Dawn Stevenson from the volunteer group. “The prospect of Gamesley’s young people having nowhere to go and nothing to do outside of school was unthinkable and the local community clearly believes this too.”

“We’re incredibly proud of and grateful for the community’s response. Their passion and support has spurred us on to create a viable business plan that’ll keep the Community Centre’s doors open. It’s also opened our eyes to the potential for the Centre as somewhere that meets the needs of everyone in Gamesley.”

After being introduced by High Peak Borough Councillors and Parliamentary Candidate, Jon Pearse, the volunteers are working with an organisation called the Plunkett Foundation, which provides expert advice in community asset transfers. Through their crowdfunder, the group has also raised over £20,000 of the £37,000 target.

From a bed making competition to sponsored skipping to a car wash and creating canvas art with local artist, Deggy, the funds raised mean the Centre can operate for at least 12 months without council support. Long term, the Centre would be funded through groups keen to use it in future as well as local business sponsorship and the volunteer group has already had promising discussions on this front.

The campaign to save the Centre has also made national news headlines, featuring twice on BBC Breakfast which visited Gamesley twice in March, as well as regionally on ITV Granada. The threatened closure struck a chord with viewers who’ve also seen youth and community services closing in their communities after funding cuts.

“What the media interest shows is that people do care about the future of our young people and recognise that giving them positive experiences and role models close to

Home not only helps them but also helps create better communities with lower rates of vandalism and petty crime as well as better physical and mental health,” added Helen Thornhill, from Move More Glossop who runs the Hangout Club at the Centre. “We’ve gone from being devasted to feeling excited by the possibilities. We’d love to see more local people and businesses get involved too.”

The volunteers are looking for groups interested in using the Centre in future as well as any tradespeople who could help with a much-needed renovation. This includes kitchen fitting, plastering, laying new floors, painting and more. Anyone interested in offering their support should contact Helen@the-bureau.org.uk

The crowdfunder to save Gamesley Community Centre can be found at:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/the-hangout-club-gamesley-youth-club

 

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