Future of the Kenilworth Centre uncertain as council set to make decision on funding

The Kenilworth Centre
The Kenilworth Centre

The future of the Kenilworth Centre is set to be decided by Kenilworth Town Council (KTC) at its next meeting on Thursday December 10.

The council had been giving the centre £30,000 a year for three years to cover its core costs after Warwickshire County Council withdrew its financial support in 2012.

We have made what we think is a strong case for the council to continue funding the centre.

John Whitehouse

Last year, KTC decided to extend the funding for one more year up until March 2016, with the proviso that the newly-elected council which is now in power would review whether the funding could continue.

Trustees at the centre hope the council will pledge to fund the centre for another three years after they pitched their case in front of councillors at KTC’s finance meeting on Thursday last week..

John Whitehouse, chair of trustees at the Kenilworth Centre, said: “We have made what we think is a strong case for the council to continue funding the centre.

“In our pitch we tried to highlight what would happen if funding to the centre was cut - the base funding from the council has been absolutely vital.

“The funding costs £30,000 a year, which is less than £3 per year per household in Kenilworth.

“Finding people who are willing to fund yearly core costs is very difficult in practice, because Kenilworth does not have a high deprivation index. The message in Kenilworth is that Kenilworth has got to look after its own.”

The news follows West Midlands MEP Daniel Dalton’s visit to the centre. Mr Dalton, who grew up in Kenilworth, praised the work that the centre does.

He said: “Growing up in Kenilworth and using the old youth club when I was a teenager, I know first-hand some of the challenges for young people so to see this work which engages with young people directly is very encouraging.”

Young people who often speak with the centre’s detached youth workers also voiced their support, with many claiming that if the youth workers were not around they would have no one to confide in.

A petition has been launched for people to pledge support to the youth centre, which has so far amassed over 300 signatures.

Nick Schofield, a signatory of the petition, said: “I’d happily pay £3 in addition to council tax to keep the centre funded.”

Another signatory, Deborah Bignell, said: “It is vital to keep this centre as so much youth provision is being cut. Young people need this vital resource.”

Anyone wishing to view or sign the petition can do so by visiting www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/save-the