A COMMUNITY centre which has helped thousands of Cotmanhay residents turn their lives around is set to close next week.
Funding for The Cotmanhay Enterprise Centre, which offers training and social activities for residents, has dried up and the building on the corner of Bennerley Avenue will now be taken over by lease-holders Derbyshire County Council.
While the centre provides rooms for activities like judo, drama and ‘knit and natter’ sessions, its biggest success, according to centre manager Lorraine Clarke, has been with giving residents the confidence to get back to work.
Since March, four people who attended the centre’s work club, have gained employment.
Ironically, Lorraine and the three part-time staff employed at the centre will now have to find new jobs.
“I’m very proud of what we have achieved and I know that the centre’s closure will be a big loss, not only to the local community but others as well,” she said.
“We will continue our vital work until the sad day we close.”
One Cotmanhay woman wrote to the centre saying she was ‘over-the-moon’ at the help she received in getting a job after 15 years.
Lorraine explained that a number of the organisations which fund the centre, including Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Communities, have had Government funding cut, who in turn have not got the funding to support the centre.
“Our last ditch attempt was to get lottery money,” she explained.
“We got through to the second round, but that was unsuccessful.”
Enterprise agency Erewash Partnership refurbished the centre and has used it for training, as have Erewash Borough Council and Nottingham Trent University.
A celebration event will be held tomorrow from 11am to remember the good work the centre has done since it opened in October 1997.
Partnership chairman Simon Woods said: “Cotmanhay Enterprise Centre has been one of our biggest success stories, helping many people improve their lives and prospects, so regenerating the area and the local economy.
“So, although extremely disappointed, we will be celebrating the many achievements at the centre rather than looking on the down side.”