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Residents asked to dig deep for centre
RESIDENTS living on Oxford’s Cutteslowe estate are being asked to make donations to save their community centre.
Last month trustees revealed that the centre was losing £2,000 every month and could shut by November.
But vice-chairman Sarah Pepys this week said a fightback was now under way to help raise funds to halt its decline, after final attempts to obtain more grants failed.
Volunteers from Cutteslowe Community Centre in Wren Road have canvassed more than 5,000 homes in the surrounding areas to raise awareness about their appeal and attract donations.
Community centre manager Allie Noel said: “So far we have had a really good response.
“We have leafleted local homes in the community, asking people to support us. That can be either through a one-off donation, or more regular ones.”
Earlier this year trustees of the centre were forced to make savings, by axing one full-time role and beginning to charge for some activities.
They have said that boosting the amount of money they make from renting the centre’s halls and kitchen will be key to their efforts.
It is hoped this can be accomplished by making the building more attractive and some improvements to rooms have already taken place.
Community association trustees have also appealed to city councillor Jean Fooks, the representative for Summertown, for the city council’s support.
The council maintains the building but does not make regular contributions to the association.
Liberal Democrat Mrs Fooks said she was trying to get council cash for the centre but the area had struggled to attract funding, because it is in the affluent Summertown ward.
She said: “I have been involved with this organisation for some 10 years now and have always thought the work it does is really important.
“The community it serves is still very deprived in some respects, just as much as areas like Blackbird Leys and Barton, and it needs these facilities.
“This is a worthwhile place that can do great things and we must keep it open.”
Money raised will help the centre continue running after-school clubs, seniors’ groups and playgroups for younger children.
And training opportunities are provided for those who are out of work or who want to change job.
Volunteers are needed for fundraising events and to help raise awareness of the campaign.
For more information or to donate visit cutteslowecommunity.org.uk
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