The Key Centre Trustees have made the following statement:
Earlier this year, after the Key Centre Trustee Board stood down, 5 of your Town Councillors came forward to ensure continuity. The initial priority for the new trustees has been to carry out a business review and, whilst this is not yet complete, it has become clear that following Covid, demand for business office space in rural areas and use by community groups has significantly reduced. As things stand, the Key Centre spends more money than it currently earns and whilst, fortunately, there are no debts, this position is clearly unsustainable and at some point funds may run out.
The Trustees have successfully renegotiated contracts to reduce outgoings and continue to let function rooms to residents and others alongside our current regular groups. A more radical solution however is required to ensure longer term viability and the Trustees and Council are exploring all options, including potential for sharing use of the building. These investigations are at an early stage – please be reassured that the aim is that these will continue to include a community space, albeit a smaller and hopefully more sustainable one.
The Key Centre is Middleham’s community centre. Council and the trustees intend to share their thoughts and plans and seek feedback from residents, current user groups and potential users. Feedback may be sought in the form of a questionnaire. It is also planned to organise a town meeting; many residents will remember the very well-attended public meeting 5 years ago to discuss the future of the playing fields which lead to a rejuvenated Sports and Community Wellbeing Association.
Further announcements will be made when there is more to report and the Trustees and Council are in a position to recommend a plan.
In the meantime, the Key Centre is mostly run by volunteers: are you able to give up some of your time to, for example, maintain the front garden, help with laying out chairs and tables for events? If you are able to help, in any way, please contact Pam Avison (01969 624002 – during Key Centre opening hours) Sue Fairhurst (07896 321348) or Honor Byford (07849 918215) for an initial chat.