Centre is given another reprieve

A COMMUNITY centre in Corby used by hundreds of young people every week has been given a six-month reprieve.

The Connaughty Centre in Cottingham Road was to have closed in December as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

In September Northamptonshire County Council announced it would postpone making a final decision until this spring.

Yesterday it said a consultation process over the centre’s future will be extended for another six months.

Carol Copeland, director of Youth Works CIC, which is based at the centre, said: “I’m happy that the county council has decided to keep the centre open for another six months and has agreed to have talks with all the groups which use it about its future.

“I was hoping the closure threat would be put on the back burner indefinitely but that isn’t the case.

“However, we have put forward a proposal to run the centre jointly with the county council and we will be holding discussions on this to see if we can make it work.

“I’m happy there is going to be an open and full dialogue.”

More than 20 organisations use the centre, in addition to Youth Works CIC. As well as running a youth club and a teen cafe, The Grub Hub, it provides training, education and employment.

A spokesman for the county council said: “A decision on the long-term future of the Connaughty Centre in Corby has been deferred for six months while all options are fully explored.

“The county council is undergoing a period of rapid transformation and, as such, is changing many of its working practices.

“As part of new ways of working the council is looking at how it can accommodate its staff as part of focusing work in specific areas of the county.

“The county council will continue to work with all stakeholders in order to find a solution which accommodates all needs.”

The centre has been the focus for young people in Corby for decades and when the closure was announced teenagers launched a petition calling for it to be saved.

Prime Minister David Cameron was asked to back the campaign, after he visited the Connaughty Centre in 2007 when he praised its youth projects and other initiatives to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.