Concern over future of Stevenage community centre

The Hyde Out in Stevenage

The Hyde Out in Stevenage - Credit: Archant

A disabled pensioner is concerned about the future of a community centre which for many is a lifeline to the outside world.

Frances Page attends the Over 50’s Friendship Group at the Hyde Out community centre in The Hyde, Stevenage, every Friday afternoon.

The centre had been managed and subsidised by Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) but, setting its 2014/15 budget, the local authority decided to withdraw its support to save £18,000.

Mrs Page said: “How is it that this valuable asset to the community is to be closed due to the withdrawal of funding by the council?

“The Hyde Out is well-used by toddler groups, friendship groups and other clubs, as well as for blood testing - which saves a lot of people having to go to the hospital.”

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She said the Over 50s Friendship Group, which is attended by about 40 people each week, is to relocate to the Shephall Community Centre off Hydean Way, but she won’t be able to attend.

“I am disabled,” she explained. “I walk with a stick and I have Parkinson’s disease. I won’t be able to walk there.

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“It would mean a lot for me if the centre could stay open.”

A spokesman for the council said the Government is to reduce its grant to the local authority by £3 million over the next three years, forcing the council to identify major savings in order to balance its budget.

She said the Hyde Out is the only community centre managed and subsidised by the council and SBC is proposing to bring it in line with the other centres.

The council spokesman said: “As part of our proposals for saving £3m, we are planning to relinquish our management and financial subsidy of the Hyde Out.

“Before this decision was finalised, we consulted with groups that use the facility and with the community.

“It is regrettable the council can no longer manage the facility but we are talking to other organisations who may be able to use the building to benefit the community.”

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