Concern has been raised regarding Shelly Farm Community Centre, Monkspath. For those who do not know, it is situated off the main car park in Farmhouse Way, between the school grounds and Shelly Crescent. I can not remember how long the centre has been in existence but my wife, Jan, was on the first committee that raised funds for it.
The fact is the centre is not in a good position, with the boiler packed in and some general housekeeping needed. There has been not hot water for a while.
I am aware of general concerns regarding the officers of the committee and I have attended the last two committee meetings. The officers are from the Friday Prayers Group, which use the centre on a Friday lunch time and this has naturally led to some comments in the wider community the centre is being run down so that it can be taken over. I feel it important to state this because this is what has been said to me – it needs to be got out in the open.
However, having attended the last two committee meetings I feel the committee, which only took over late last year, are formulating a plan to ensure the sustainability of the centre. The user groups appear to be on-board to get the centre back on track. There is a new website for the centre: http://www.shellyfarmcommunitycentre.com/ . Please visit the site and share with friends. This might encourage more use.
We should not blame anyone because the centre has no effective heating or hot water because even I was not aware of the circumstances. However, we can not and should not blame the current committee because the boiler had not been serviced. We should also not blame the current committee because no maintenance plan had been put in place. Running the centre is a big job and it appears that only now is there a big enough team to try and sort it out. I feel we all owe Mary Ayres, who ran the centre for many years a big thank you.
The committee is looking to the community to help with general maintenance in the near future; painting and cleaning. They have already instructed work to be done to provide hot water.
The finances are not great and I am pleased to see that efforts have been made to reduce the monthly outgoing. There is about £2,000 in the bank and the boiler is expected to cost £9,000. There will be on-going events to try to raise funds.
On a council level: I have attended the last two committee meetings and will now commit myself to OUR centre. I am confident we can contribute about £2,000 from the Neighbourhood Budget to help the centre. Precedence for doing this was set several years ago when Cheswick Green Village Hall had a larger donation (we had more money then). This will only be done if the council is satisfied with the accounts – I am sure they will be. I am also seeking donations from other businesses.
Please feel free to comment on this post or email me if you have concerns and do not want to be identified. I will work to help the committee, its officers and user groups to make centre OUR community centre remains a viable and smashing place for OUR community.