A cut worth making?
A councillor has questioned if it is worth closing a community centre in Motherwell because the estimated saving would be so small.
A report by Culture NL states Jerviston Community Centre is used less than ten hours a week, which includes councillors surgeries.
It is one of four community centres in North Lanarkshire to have so little usage, along with Cleland, Caldercruix and Waterloo.
As such it is one of ten community facilities which are earmarked for closure as Culture NL aims to offset a drop in its management fee from North Lanarkshire Council by saving £72,000 on utility bills.
The affected staff would be moved to other roles within the organisation.
Motherwell North councillor Pat O’Rourke is hoping the Jerviston centre can be saved from the axe.
He said: “I know from the Culture NL report and from speaking to the janitorial staff that the centre is not well used at the moment, but I had hoped that maybe it could have new life breathed into it.
“I have been talking to the former boxer Barry Morrison who wanted to use it for keep fit classes and that would be a great start to start getting people coming to it again, but obvious closure would put a spanner in the works.
“I do wonder if given we are only talking around £7,000 a year if such a minimal saving is worth it to close a community facility. We are purely talking saving money on utilities here, it looks like all the staff will be deployed, but will remain employed.
“The less community facilities we have the less potential there is for the community to come together and that would be a terrible shame.”
North Lanarkshire Council is facing a £21.8 million cut to its budget for the 2018/19 financial year, assuming there is a three per cent council tax increase, this will raise around £3 million.
The council already has plans in place to save £9.7 million from its forthcoming budget but savings of more than £8 million still need to be found.
Council officers have developed a range of saving options to the value of £14.7 million, that can be viewed online or picking up an information leaflet from libraries, and are asking for the public’s feedback.
Drop-in sessions has been organised to meet with community engagement teams and talk through the options at Motherwell Library on Friday and Bellshill Cultural Centre of Friday, February 2, both from noon–2pm.
Council chief executive Paul Jukes said: “Everyone will have different opinions on how we make these savings, depending on how you use and interact with council services.
“It’s important to remember that these are options, not decisions that have been made. That’s why it’s vital that we hear from you. Your feedback is important and will help to influence how we make those savings.”