A COMMUNITY centre in Fordingbridge has been given a £10,000 grant to help with vital repairs to the roof.

Fordingbridge Town Council’s finance committee agreed funding to help Avonway from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) during an extraordinary meeting held last week.

Avonway trustee Iain Kidson said roof felt was missing and there was evidence of water leaking under the slates which had deteriorated.

He also told the meeting that there had been problems with young people climbing on the roof, which had caused “significant damage”.

Th project would involve demolishing two chimneys which are in need of rebuilding and “re-covering” and felting the roof, which Mr Kidson said would “abolish the problem of rain blowing in under the slates”. Around £40,000 would be needed to do the work.

The meeting had heard the pandemic had had an impact on its finances due to lost income.

Mr Kidson said the centre itself had raised £6,000 and there was “funding in kind” to reduce the labour costs by about £1,500. And several groups who had pre-paid to use the centre and did not want it back - putting an additional £800 in the funding pot. It would also be seeking grants from other funding bodies.

Councillor Mike Jackson suggested £10,000 and that if there was a shortfall at a later stage Avonway could come back to the town council.

Mr Kidson said this would put Avonway in a “strong position” to look at securing other grants and to “get the job done”. He added: “It is pretty important when there is such pressure on the welfare of residents with Covid that we are there and ready to go when things come back so we can support the town.”

Councillor Paul Anstey said the loss of income had “added to this burden” for the centre and he supported the proposal from Cllr Jackson, adding: “The loss of this facility in this town is surely not an option.”

Councillor Malcom Adams said it is an “organisation that helps the whole town”.

The proposal was unanimously supported by councillors.

Mr Kidson said: “We do very much appreciate the town council’s help. We will do our best to make good use of it and to continue to support the people of Fordingbridge.”

Thanks to a grant of £17,183.00 from the TH Russell Charitable Trust, Avonway has also been able to have new automatic entrance doors installed, which will make it easier for elderly and disabled users to access the centre.

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