ROMSEY Mill Trust has been awarded a contract by Cambridge City Council to run one of the city’s community centres.
The move follows a review of community centres which identified an opportunity to explore leasing Ross Street Community Centre to a voluntary organisation while keeping the centre in council ownership.
Romsey Mill Trust submitted a successful tender proposal and will work with the council to ensure a smooth transition when it takes over the centre on 10 September.
The new arrangement means that Ross Street Community Centre will remain open for local community groups to use, and provide a secure office base for a voluntary organisation in the city centre, with rooms that can be hired to help with running costs.
Local residents and groups will not see any noticeable changes in the service provided from the centre. The council will retain oversight of the running of the centre through a group that councillors and residents will be able to attend.
The council intends to reallocate the money spent on running costs for the centre to other community development activities in the city.
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “Our excellent community centres offer vital facilities and services to a wide range of groups and individuals and I am pleased that our review of community provision led directly to this welcome new partnership with Romsey Mill Trust.
“We know that Ross Street Community Centre is at the heart of the Romsey community and this new arrangement means the community centre has a bright future in targeting people in need.
“Our focus is on the most vulnerable people in our communities and ensuring our centres are financially sustainable and flexible enough to meet the changing needs of the city.
“We will work very closely with Romsey Mill Trust in the run-up to the handover of the centre to ensure that for community groups and residents who currently use the centre, it will be very much business as usual.”
The trust has close to 40 years of experience in managing public buildings. This experience, together with the charity’s approach to customer care and the range of services to be made available at the centre, supported its successful bid for the lease.
Neil Perry, Chief Executive of Romsey Mill Trust, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Cambridge City Council and serve local community groups and families through managing the Ross Street Community Centre.
“From our experience of working in Cambridge, we know the real value of having facilities available to the local community in the place they live, providing safe, accessible and suitable spaces that everyone can use. We look forward to being able to help provide those opportunities at Ross Street Community Centre.”
Groups will be contacted to let them know about the new arrangements and how to make new bookings at the centre.
The council has previously entered into a number of other successful partnership arrangements with community groups to take on the management of community buildings including Nuns Way Pavilion, 37 Lawrence Way and Trumpington Pavilion.