LEICESTER’S popular African Caribbean Centre could be run by the local community in the future following the results of a recent consultation carried out amongst its users.
A recent consultation on the centre, in Maidstone Road, Highfields, found that people would like to see it run by a community organisation. It is currently owned and managed by Leicester City Council.
The consultation ran from October 12 until November 21 last year, with people able to share their views either online or through paper questionnaires, which were available at all city council libraries and community centres.
A total of 352 responses were received. The majority of respondents, 84 per cent, were African Caribbean Centre users.
The consultation confirmed that the centre is highly valued by users, with some commenting that they have used it since childhood. Visitors to the centre live across the city and many said they use the centre for cultural reasons.
The majority of respondents who expressed a preference (53 per cent) said they would prefer community organisations to be given the opportunity to take on the lease and running of the centre. As a result, the city council will now explore options to take this forward.
“We know that our community asset transfer (CAT) programme has been very successful in other areas of the city. It’s where we offer community groups the chance to lease some of our neighbourhood buildings, if they are considered suitable for this and if there is likely to be some interest from local groups,” said councillor Kirk Master, assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods.
“The aim of our consultation was to find out if this was something users of the African Caribbean Centre would like to see. We’ll now look to explore options with local groups who could potentially run the centre.”
Assistant city mayor for tackling racism and disadvantage, Cllr Sue Hunter, said: “It’s clear that this centre has a special role, attracting people from across the city and people who use the centre throughout their lives. Currently 45 partners and organisations are registered to deliver activities at the centre, with more than 125,000 visitors each year.
“Now we can move to getting the community even more involved and invested in the running of this centre so that it continues its important and valued role in the diverse life of our city.”
The African Caribbean Centre has been identified as one of a number of council buildings where investment can be made to improve its environmental efficiency. Around £100,000 of improvements, such as installing solar panels, are due to be carried out later this year.
It was first created back in the 1980’s after the black community approached Leicester City Council and was originally run as a joint partnership between community members and the council.
However, over the years community members have become less involved, due to age or moving away from the area, prompting the council to take on a greater role.
To find out more, visit the centre’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/ACCDG