Shropshire Star

Centre helped to keep its financial head above water by grant from Severn Trent

A 'vital' community centre in Telford has been handed a £16,000 financial lifeline by a regional water company.

Picture: Severn Trent Water

Anstice Community Trust in Madeley received the booster from Severn Trent Water for what is known as core funding, things like the cost of energy.

Severn Trent’s Community Fund has supported more than 400 community groups with core cost funding since 2020 to help them through the impact of covid-19 and the cost of living crisis.

Lyndy Boden, centre manager) and June Campbell (Anstice Community Trust Secretary) in the centre's Kemberton Room next to Severn Trent Community Fund plaque. Picture: Severn Trent Water

The people who run the Anstice say it has secured the immediate future and helped give them "breathing space".

June Campbell, of Anstice Community Trust, said rising costs had been building up to redundancies and raising prices beyond the means of some locals.

She said: “We had spent a year or so in lockdown just a few weeks after we had opened the centre for the first time.

"We were really struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, the hangover financially from covid, the national living wage increase, and also the cost of utilities – our electric bill went up from £650 to £1,300 a month which was horrendous.

Picture: Severn Trent Water

“Without this grant we would have had to increase our prices in the café for example, which may have made us unaffordable for some of the community we serve.

"We would have had to consider reducing staff hours which may have meant redundancies.

"The grant has allowed us to concentrate on the day to day running of the centre and serving the community which is what we’re here for – it’s vital for Madeley.

“We were really pleased when we found out that our application had been successful. The team has that breathing space now, so we are incredibly grateful – it’s nice to have that support from organisations such as Severn Trent.”

The grade-two listed building, leased to the Trust, acts as a community centre, and was previously a working men’s club.

It now welcomes around 1,000 people through its doors every week for a range of activities such as games of bingo, and movie showings in its ballroom.

Jade Gough, Community Fund Officer, said: “We understand many charities and groups still urgently need financial help, which is why last November we allocated £500,000 from the 2023/24 Community Fund specifically to cover core costs for groups within our region.

"Through that we were able to support Anstice Community Trust, as well as another 33 incredible organisations across our region, that run for the benefit of local residents.

“The centre is an incredible building that many people in the local community rely on, and we’re over the moon that the Trust is able to continue to offer their wonderful space, and services, to everyone.”

To find out more about the fund, and what projects have been awarded, visit the community fund website.

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