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Friary Centre project aims to give community a heart
THE most deprived area of Wiltshire is to have its community centre taken over by Salisbury City Council.
The Friary Community Centre is in a part of the St Martin’s and Cathedral ward of Salisbury, which is deemed to be the most sociallydeprived in the county.
The centre is currently run and leased by Alabaré Christian Care Centres, but the charity has indicated it will move out next month and relocate to a new centre at Churchfields.
As a result, Wiltshire Council, which owns the Friary Centre, asked Salisbury City Council to run it for the benefit of local residents.
In 2010, the St Martin’s (Central) area, which is part of the ward and home to 1,700 people, was officially designated as being in the worst 10 per cent of areas in the country for social deprivation. This was the first time Wiltshire had ever had an area in that bracket.
The new plan approved by a meeting of the services committee of Salisbury City Council on Monday means Edward Callaghan, the manager of the Bemerton Heath Centre and his team will oversee the running of the Friary Centre.
Mr Callaghan told councillors the plan was to lease it for three years, use a multi-agency approach and recruit volunteers to run the centre.
He added: “We will conduct a consultation with the community to find out what issues affect them. We will also have drop-in services and try to achieve community cohesion.”
He said people in the area had already been asking “can we have our community centre back?”
Cllr Jo Broom said she had been a community midwife in the area, and the centre, in Carmelite Way, had been a central part of the community.
She said: “It would be good to see that happening again. This is a part of our community that would really benefit from an injection of money and support.”
Cllr Ian Tomes said he used to live in the Friary area and it was not as depressed as made out. He said: “It’s got a lot going for it.”
It was agreed that the city council will pay £3,000 to run the centre until March and thereafter spend £9,000 per year. A review of the project will be conducted in 2015. Wiltshire Council is to waive the £2,500 annual rent and be responsible for maintenance.
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