Funding is secured for new community centre

The Hill Youth and Community Centre, Banbury. NNL-150922-132742009

The Hill Youth and Community Centre, Banbury. NNL-150922-132742009

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After years of deterioration £840,000 of funding has been found to demolish and replace a community centre in Banbury.

The large hall of The Hill Youth and Community Centre, in Dover Avenue, was forced to close in 2013 due to damage to the roof.

Since then the centre has been providing limited services, including youth and homework clubs and arts and crafts, to the community in its smaller hall, office and communal area.

Cherwell District Council, which owns the building, has been holding discussions to find sufficient funding to demolish and rebuild the centre as part of its Brighter Futures in Banbury initiative.

Kieron Mallon, Cherwell’s councillor for Banbury Futures, said: “The Hill is an important and popular resource but the condition of the building is rapidly deteriorating and restricting how it can be used.

“By sourcing this money, we are not just investing in a new centre, but also in the community and people who will use the facilities in the future.

“We want The Hill to become a focal point that spans all ages and interests by offering the benefits of both a community centre and sports facility.

“By working with our partners we can pool our knowledge, experience and funds to achieve that vision and create a brighter future for everyone in the community.”

Cherwell will pay £400,000 towards the cost of the work together with £350,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England, while Banbury Charities and Banbury Town will each contribute £10,000 towards the project.

The remaining £70,000 will be made up from section 106 contributions which is money paid by developers of large housing projects to fund facilities in the community.

Sanctuary Housing has donated land which will be used to provide outside facilities and parking.

Banbury Community Church, which leases the building and manages the centre, will continue to do so after the rebuild and will provide an interim programme of activities during the construction phase.

Designs for the new building are to be confirmed, but the new facility is expected to have a large main hall, a smaller hall, and kitchen and break-out areas so activities for adults and children can be provided.

The project is part of the Brighter Futures in Banbury initiative, a long term partnership project working to improve the quality of life in parts of the town which have been identified as having areas of deprivation.

A planning application is due to be submitted later this year and if approved, work is expected to begin on site in spring next year.

Sheena Gow, community development co-ordinator of the Banbury Community Church, said: “It’s great news this funding has been secured and investment is being made into the community at a time when so many services are being cut.”