Edinburgh council agrees emergency funding for two threatened community centres

Two community centres in north Edinburgh have each been offered an emergency £50,000 grant in a bid to rescue them from closure.

By Ian Swanson
Friday, 1st July 2022, 4:02 pm

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

A full council meeting approved the cash lifelines for Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre, whose funding from a charitable trust has just run out, and the Prentice Centre in West Granton, which made a shock announcement earlier this week that it was going to have to close.

The council was presented with three separate motions from council leader Cammy Day, SNP councillor Vicky Nicolson and Lib Dem Hal Osler asking for the funding for Drylaw and the SNP’s Stuart Dobbin urged similar help for the Prentice Centre.

Councillor Osler said community centres played a vital role, delivering food to residents during the pandemic and now helping communities recover.

She spoke of Drylaw’s challenges, including rising anti-social behaviour. “It is so important there is a safe place for people to go, somewhere you are welcome, a positive place that’s part of the community and run by the community. Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre is that place, first opening its doors in 1995 and it has been there for the community ever since. It now faces challenges of its own, and rising demand for services at a time when funding is being cut has impacted the centre deeply.”

The emergency funding would help ensure the centre had a future. “I for one do not want to see the lights turned off and the community left without a safe place to go.”

Cllr Dobbin said there had been “widespread shock” at the announcement the Prentice Centre had taken the difficult decision to close because the available funding was not sufficient to see out the full year.

Core funding from a charitable trust for Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre has run out. Picture: Ian Rutherford.

"We are facing the prospect of losing two community assets that serve very deprived areas in north Edinburgh which, following the last two years of social isolation in our communities and the pressures of the cost of living crisis, I would suggest we need more than ever.

"In the case of the Prentice Centre, the building is owned by the trustees, t was built with European funds, so once the centre has gone it is gone for good – it is not a council-owned asset that can be repurposed in future. This is an important community hub supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of those of a mre advanced age in the local community.

"The sum of £50,000 requested will ensure the Prentice Centre can continue until the end of this fiscal year.”

And he said he believed council engagement and the rallying round of other community groups could produce a sustainable way forward for the centre.

SNP finance spokesman Marco Biagi said the council needed to look at how community centres across the city were doing and whether any more help was needed in terms of management support to make sure they could be successful.

Alex Dale, chair of the management committee at Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre, said: “We are delighted the council has seen fit to grant us this emergency funding. We’re fully committed to engaging with the council to ensure this situation will hopefully not happen again.”

The Prentice Centre said they did not want to comment until their board had discussed the matter on Tuesday.

Read More

Read More
Edinburgh council votes to carry on with plans for workplace parking levy