Last night we went to the AGM of the local community centre, where Jayne stood down as chair after a year.Â She previously did the job for the maximum three years, but back then she was not a school governor, independent custody visitor and an on-call appropriate adult for youth offenders.Â I have been saying for ages that she takes too much on, and I think she hascome to the same conclusion herself.
It was a good meeting though.Â Stuffed with Tories of course, but that doesn’t really matter.Â When it comes to the community centre I think we are all on the same side.Â Even teh complaints about the council being stingy with grants is not a party political point.Â It may have been Labour party members complaining about a Tory council, but we all know it was the same when it was a Labour council.
The problem really is that the decision on grants is made by a panel of councillors who are, by definition not from Broadfield (all our councillors would be on the governing body of the centre and thus have to declare an interest).Â Â I think there is a feeling that the community centre is some sort of extra facility we have and the councillors always scale down the application accordingly.Â They do know differently, but the decision is based on feelings I suspect.Â Â The reality is that our centre provides a service that would have to be provided by the borough council if it didn’t exist, and it would cost a lot more than the full grant applied for to do that.
Its an old problem that I remember well from my short spell as treasurer for the centre, and it doesn’t look like being solved any time soon.Â My own preference for having grant allocation decisions taken away from councillors, who have a track record of Quixotic decisions, is never going to happen. The other possibility, of turning the community centre into a service provider, with an SLA and more secure, longer-term funding stands more of a chance, but has its own risks.
The amazing thing is, as Jayne pointed out, that every year the amount applied for is lower and still gets scaled down, and yet still the centre manages to somehow break even.