Residents take over community centre

Work: Chris Mills.

Work: Chris Mills.

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COMMUNITY groups are set to take over the running of a Doncaster community centre from the council in a bid to secure its future.

Mayor Peter Davies has agreed for the Elm Green Lane Community Centre, Conisbrough, to be leased out to residents - ending the authority’s financial responsibility for the venue.

Around 100 people attended a meeting in which Mr Davies said the centre, which had been under review, would have a community lease for £500 per year.

Initially, the lease was to be for 10 years but during discussions at the meeting this was extended to 15 years with a review every three years.

The centre will have a management board, responsible for internal and external improvements needed and future maintenance of the 99 year-old building.

Mr Davies said: “I am happy to go along with the views of the community and I wish them every success with this venture. Both the Elm Green Lane Centre and the Ivanhoe Centre will be run by the people, for the people, and be paid for by the people.”

John Mills, chairman of the management committee, said: “We are now ready to sign grant contracts to kick of the work needed to improve the centre.

“We’ve got offers of grants from both Wren and Lafarge. Our priorities are the roof, doors, windows and insulation to cut our energy bills.”

MP Caroline Flint MP, who attended the meeting, said: “I’ve worked with Elm Green Lane community Centre for years and hold a monthly surgery here.

“I know how hard everyone has worked to get the community lease. It’s great news that the council have listened and made this offer. It is a good outcome for the community and a good outcome for the council. It’s important for all of us to make this work.”

Ward councillor Chris Mills is also pleased with the agreement and said it opened the door to lots of hard work and fundraising but the community was ready for that. We all want both centres in Conisbrough to be a success.”