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West Hampstead Community centre sets target for survival

PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 October 2011

West Hampstead Community Centre committee members from left Natasha Benenson (secretary), Geoff Berridge (treasurer), Alan Johnson (chair), and Pauline Cheeseman (vice chair). Picture: Polly Hancock

West Hampstead Community Centre committee members from left Natasha Benenson (secretary), Geoff Berridge (treasurer), Alan Johnson (chair), and Pauline Cheeseman (vice chair). Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

West Hampstead Community Centre will have to redefine itself and raise £75,000 a year to stay afloat, say members.

The centre, which runs classes for children and adults, set out its plans to become self-sufficient as faces up to losing £90,000 a year in funding from Camden Council.

Although the Broomsleigh Street site has a mission statement, some members claim the organisation needs a clearer message to appeal to the wider community and attract vital funding.

Part of the business plan for survival is to raise £31,500 a year from individual donations and fundraising.

Alistair White helped set up the original community centre in Mill Lane in the 1970s, since when it has been sold off by the council.

He said: “I think you have got to tell people why they should use the centre and no-one has clearly stated why we should save it.

“I think it has to be spelt out before people will be willing to donate.”

The group is relying on securing transitional funding of £60,000 to take it through to April 2013 when all council funding will dry up.

The centre then hopes to raise £15,000 from hiring the hall, a further £31,500 from various trusts and charitable foundations, as well as the £31,500 from donations and fundraising.

Committee chairman Alan Johnson said that the centre needed a strapline of a few words which chimed with the needs of both older and younger generations.

‘‘The upside of this loss of funding is that we no longer have to dance to Camden’s tune. We can see this as an opportunity where the centre is self-funded and is much more instrumental in what it decides to provide for the community.

“We will be able to forge a new character,” he said.

He added that securing the hall below the site’s current premises, currently used by Sington Nursery, was essential to the survival of the centre.

Members hope the larger space will allow them to host a wider variety of events and raise more money.


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