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Community centre axes two staff to help make ends meet
A COMMUNITY centre in North Oxford has been forced to lose two members of staff in the face of financial pressures.
Cutteslowe Community Centre has restructured its staffing to get by, losing two community worker posts.
Allie Noel, who has taken over the new part-time role of community centre manager, says it has been increasingly difficult to raise funds.
She said: “There is a lot of competition for funds and we have to work incredibly hard on every bid we make.
“The fundraising is being done by volunteers and I think generally they are finding it quite hard to do. It is quite a large amount of work.
“People have worked incredibly hard around here and in the last couple of years we have found it harder.”
The Wren Road community centre provides activities for children and the elderly.
Cutteslowe Community Association receives funding from bodies such as Oxfordshire County Council, the Tolkien Trust, Age UK Oxfordshire and Cutteslowe Church Partnership.
But Ms Noel said the centre did not receive any core funding from Oxford City Council because it was relatively small.
The community association was planning to continue refurbishing the centre despite its financial problems.
“We have done it as economically as we possibly can,” she said.
“The last piece we did was to get the lounge decorated, and we are hoping to do the same with the committee room; we have a little bit of money left over to do that.
“We are going to replace the windows and the doors to make it a bit more environmentally efficient and attractive and the city council is paying for that.”
The community association is responsible for the interior of the building, while the city council, which owns the building, looks after the exterior.
Jean Fooks, city councillor for Summertown, said: “The community centre does serve an area which has significant deprivation. It has been very difficult to get funds at the moment and they have not got any substantial long-term funding.
“The centre has been a very good addition to the area but it cannot keep going unless it has the funding to do so.”
The city council is currently renegotiating leases of its community centres with all Oxford’s community associations.