Trustees vow to keep struggling Cutteslowe Community Association alive

Allie Noel at Cutteslowe Community Centre

Allie Noel at Cutteslowe Community Centre

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

TRUSTEES of Cutteslowe Community Association have vowed to bring it back from the brink of financial ruin.

The group, which leases the Wren Road centre from Oxford City Council, has been losing £2,000 a month.

Leaders thought they could last until January but now face running out of cash by October, according to vice chairman Sarah Pepys.

She said: “In recent years the economic climate has made it very difficult to obtain funding, because lots of charities are all after the same pots of money.

“And our only source of income at the moment is the renting of our facilities.

“At the moment we are very much on the brink.”

Last year the association axed a full-time role and began charging for some activities. Bosses said boosting rentals and grants was key.

Ms Pepys added: “The only way we will make that extra money is by making our building more attractive.

“I have been a trustee at other organisations, but everyone here is very hardworking and wants to get things going for local groups. These are the first steps we are making in turning things around.”

Centre manager Allie Noel said: “It is the glue of the community here.

“There are plenty of social benefits but it also provides people with training opportunities. Some people in Cutteslowe struggle in life but this place can provide them with support in lots of different ways.”

Community association trustees have also appealed to city councillor Jean Fooks, a member for Summertown, for council support.

The council maintains the building but does not make regular contributions to the association.

Liberal Democrat Mrs Fooks said she was trying to get council cash but the area had struggled to attract funding.

She said: “Cutteslowe is a small area so its problems do not show up on the ward statistics.

“That’s a problem because it means it does not get the kind of support that places like Barton and Blackbird Leys do.

“Funding has become progressively more difficult to obtain, but there are families out there who really do need this centre and do value it. There are few alternatives and no pub in Cutteslowe, so it has become more important.”

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