Stevenage charity centre faces eviction

PUBLISHED: 07:04 12 December 2013

Staff and patrons of YMCA So Stevenage ahead of its closure on Friday

Staff and patrons of YMCA So Stevenage ahead of its closure on Friday

Archant

Community volunteers have been told they will have to leave as their premises is to be let to a betting company.

YMCA Space Stevenage will no longer operate from its town centre site as its landlord has signed a 10 year lease contract with betting company Paddy Power. Volunteers have been working at the site since 2011.

Many of the people who use the centre found out just last week that the centre will no longer be operational after tomorrow (Friday).

Regular visitor Michelle Mahony, 53, of Archer Road, said: “This centre has been a great place for so many people to come to and make new friends. It has helped keeped people out of trouble when things weren’t quite going their way and it just seems crazy that there’s going to be yet another betting shop in the town. It’s only been here a couple of years but has come to mean so much to so many people.”

The Youth and Community Manager for YMCA Space Stevenage Karen Eyres said “ We have always known that our tenancy could expire at any point , but we are sad as this premises in the heart of the town is ideal for the community people we serve and it has happened at a time of year when people really need us. We are working with all of our partners to see if we can find somewhere from which to continue our work with local young people, vulnerable adults and families.”

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone at YMCA who have made such a difference over the last couple of years and have done so much to bring members of the community together, helping people to build up their confidence and keep others on the right track. We will do all we can to help this group find a new premises where they can continue their excellent work.”

You can contact YMCA’s Hertfordshire division on 01707 290700 or visit www.ymcacentralherts.org.uk for more information.

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