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25th Jun, 2022

Future of community centres now secure

Malvern Editorial 1st Aug, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

THE FUTURE of two well used community centres have been secured after the district council agreed for the YMCA to carry on running them long-term.

The council’s executive committee approved a proposal for the charity to lease Malvern Vale Community Centre and Upton Hill Community Centre for a further 30 years from April 2015.

In 2011 the YMCA took over the Swinyard Road based building and have since provided a wide range of activities catering for children, elderly people, fitness groups and sports teams among other groups.

In the last 12 months it is estimated about 16,000 people have used the centre. Also in 2011 the Hill and District Community Association employed the YMCA to run the Upton based centre on Milestone Road on a day to basis.

Like Malvern Vale the facility has become an integral part of the community hosting dance, indoor bowls, after school clubs, youth clubs, badminton, football, Weight Watchers, and fitness classes.

About 31,000 people used the centre in the last year.

While the proposal was generally welcomed at last week’s executive meeting some expressed concern over the length of the contract.

Although, the agreement will free the council of costs of about £600,000 during the period for estimated maintenance and repair work, it was also felt a 30 year lease would make it easier for the YMCA to secure external investment in the properties.

Coun Graham Myatt, ward member for Dyson Perrins, said ideally local volunteer-led groups should be running community centres but admitted Malvern Vale residents were not ready for the management responsibilities at this stage.

Coun Phil Grove, responsible for economic development, added the lease agreement was positive news for everyone concerned.

“There is no doubt in my mind the YMCA are the right people to be looking after these facilities, they are already running them excellently,” he said.

“I understand the concerns but in all this is good value for the YMCA, the council and the tax payers of Malvern.”

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