West Hampstead community centre’s future in doubt after funding wiped out
West Hampstead Community Centre’s future is on a knife edge after it lost �90,000 of funding from Camden Council on Tuesday – just months after a move into a brand new building.
Community centres and groups across the borough will suffer crippling funding gaps after 37 organisations were refused money from the council’s Community Centres Fund.
Lauderdale House and Kentish Town City Farm are among the losers in the latest round of tough funding choices, while 17 groups, including the Queen’s Crescent Community Centre and the Swiss Cottage Community Association, have received only some of the funding they had applied for.
West Hampstead Community Centre, which reopened earlier this year in the new Broomsleigh Street building after a controversial and expensive move out of their previous premises on Mill Lane, is one of the biggest losers. Chairman Alan Johnson described the news as a “massive blow” and said that the future of the organisation was in “very serious doubt”.
He added: “I believe it is a very poor decision by the council to withdraw their support and I intend to do all I can to preserve and develop the much appreciated facilities for the growing number of our membership.”
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Councillor Keith Moffitt added: “It is most bizarre that Camden spent all that money buying the Broomsleigh Street property for the association and now the future of the group’s existence is in doubt.”
Another big loser was Primrose Hill Community Centre which has lost �22,000 of funding – amounting to a third of their total funds.
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Centre organiser Mick Hudspeth: “We are very disappointed given that we have a real track record of ability and quality service and we have really got the community on side.
“We’ve been shafted really. Not only have we lost funding but the people have also just had their library taken away. It’s criminal really.”
A spokeswoman for Camden said that an estimated �3bn of public investment to the public sector will be lost over the course of this parliament due to central government cuts. She added: “Camden itself has been forced to cut nearly �100m from its budget for services over three years.
“Despite this financial pressure, Camden has retained one of the largest dedicated voluntary sector funding pots in London. But it is reduced on previous years and we have had to make some very difficult decisions, but will provide assistance and transitional funding where possible.”