New manager needed to save historic community centre in Mid Wales

A new manager will need to be found to run a historic community centre in Mid Wales by March or it could face closure.

Guilsfield Community Centre
Guilsfield Community Centre

Guilsfield Community Centre is part of Guilsfield Primary School and has played an integral part of village life for decades.

The community centre faced closure three years ago before Guilsfield Community Council (GCC) stepped in to help out.

The building is owned by Powys County Council, and is leased to the community centre trustees.

GCC vice chairman Councillor Glynne Turner has managed the community centre since 2018.

At a GCC meeting on Tuesday, November 17, Councillor Turner told councillors he was unwilling to carry on in the role for much longer, as he wants to do “other projects.”

Councillor Turner said: “Come the spring, I’ve done it for three years, I no longer want to do it, and I don’t think the community council should be acting in this role any longer than the end of this financial year.”

He added that the facilities are in “good shape” but number of issues such as contracts for insurance, lighting, and fire alarms would need to be addressed for the “long term”.

Councillors are waiting for the Charity Commission to provide information on the legal standing of who owns land that was bought on behalf of the community centre.

Councillor Trevor, who is also a trustee, said: “I’m not going to make any promises as to when this will be resolved.

“I foolishly did that when all this started because I thought it would be fairly easily sorted out, and that has not proved to be the case.

Tough

“We will continue to press the Charity Commission for a response – there is uncertainty over the land ownership it was done in the name of the centre, and it wasn’t entitled to do it, somebody must own it.

“In the meantime the community council is a custodian of the centre.

“It can be argued that it does have a responsibility to the centre.

“There does need to be ongoing management, and someone will have to do it.”

He explained that the trustees have been told by the Charitable Commission that one of them could not run the centre as it “would be a breach of duty”.

He added that he would chase up the Charity Commission again on the situation.

GCC chairman Councillor Ian Harrison said: “If we need to carry on supporting the community centre in the way we have been, we need to come to an agreement on who could replace Councillor Turner from the spring.

“This is a tough issue and there isn’t an obvious solution to it.

“Councillor Turner should be commended for what he’s done over the last three years.”

Councillor Harrison recommended that talks would taken place over the future management of the centre, and by the next council meeting he hoped he could put a proposal in front of councillors to discuss.

This was agreed.

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