Connaughty Centre in Corby to close after 45 years

The Connaughty Centre in Cottingham Road, Corby
The Connaughty Centre in Cottingham Road, Corby

The Connaughty Centre in Corby is to close and the site sold but Youth Works, which operates out of the building, will keep going.

County council cabinet members agreed the sale of thesite of the centre and the adjoining McDiarmid sports hall this week.

The centre’s running costs are £78,000 a year and repairs to both buildings could cost between £500,000 and £700,000.

Carol Copeland, director of Youth Works, a community interest company which provides services for young people in Corby and Kettering, said: “I’m disappointed that the Connaughty Centre won’t be part of Corby any more.

“It’s been part of the town for more than 40 years, but it needs a lot of attention.

“Youth Works will survive. It’s another challenge for us but we’ll keep going. We will now be actively looking for new premises and preparing to renew our contracts to deliver services for young people.

“It’s going to be difficult to say goodbye to the Connaughty Centre as we’ve been here since June 2006, but we will be continuing.”

The Connaughty Centre has been under threat since 2011.

Youth Words, which employs 21 staff at Corby and Kettering in the equivalent of 12 full-time postitions, runs a youth club and a cafe for teenagers, The Grub Hub, in the building, as well as training, education and employment programmes.

The centre in Cottingham Road is also a base for KYI, a counselling and information service for 10 to 25-year-olds in Kettering and Corby, and the careers advice service Connexions. Other organisations which use the centre include the Balls-Up juggling group and a judo club.

The county council is the leaseholder of the Connaughty Centre and the McDiarmid hall and the site is owned by the Homes and Communities Agency. Deputy leader of the county council Cllr Heather Smith said: “Given the financial challenges facing us, we’ve left no stone unturned in looking at ways of saving money without affecting vital services.

“Reducing ever-growing property energy and maintenance costs is one way we can save money in the long term so it’s important we look at the future of the Connaughty Centre in that context.”

Youth Works proposed creating a new organisation with other partners to run the Connaughty Centre and share the running costs with the county council but the plan was rejected by the cabinet.

The McDiarmid sports hall has been out of use since 2005.