Mansfield’s community hubs reviewed

Central Nottighamshire Mind Staff. l-r Nicola Whetton Guide to Mind Coordinator, Jacqueline Griffiths Befriend Coordinator, Carol Kerslake Receptionist, Muriel Davis MSC Project Leader, Yvonne Lacey Office Manager, Angela Ferguson MSC Assistant, Courtney Nangle Volunteer Coordinator.
Central Nottighamshire Mind Staff. l-r Nicola Whetton Guide to Mind Coordinator, Jacqueline Griffiths Befriend Coordinator, Carol Kerslake Receptionist, Muriel Davis MSC Project Leader, Yvonne Lacey Office Manager, Angela Ferguson MSC Assistant, Courtney Nangle Volunteer Coordinator.

A number of under-used community centres across the district could face closure as part of a council cost-cutting exercise.

The council hopes to save up to £500,000 by shutting the under-used meeting rooms and remodelling them as council housing or selling them for development.

From a list of 37, those being retained would be renovated.

Mental health charity Central Notts MIND uses the Kelstedge Drive Community Centre every week for a six-hour dementia therapy session.

Yvonne Lacey, office manager at the town centre St John’s Street branch, said: “The groups are well-attended and it will be a big job to find somewhere else after the last closures.

“This service not only helps clients but their families as well. And someone who suffers from dementia does not need to be travelling for any length of time so we need to be near their home address.

“Also I worry about dementia clients being mixed with other groups at busier centres.”

Members of a Mansfield District Council select committee were presented with housing officers’ findings last month and assured that the sites which remained open would cater well for residents from across the district.

But members expressed concern that the usage figures for the proposed centres might not be completely accurate and agreed to liaise with parish councils to measure usage.

A Mansfield District Council spokesman said the council retaining all its tenants meeting rooms would mean investing significant sums in repairs and upgrades.

She added: “By reducing the number of meeting rooms the potential savings just for repairs and improvements is in the region of £500,000.

“In addition to this there will be ongoing annual running costs that would be saved.”

Coun Mick Colley, member for Tenancy Services and Housing Needs, said: “The review showed a large amount of facilities were available with some being very close to each other but the usage levels were particularly low.

“The remodelling, refurbishment and disposal of the facilities will be phased over the next two-three years and a consultation will be carried out with the users of any tenant meeting rooms as part of the decision making process as appropriate.”