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Jobs to go and opening hours slashed in £100k cut to community centre budget

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Jobs will go and opening hours slashed as part of a plan to cut £100,000 from a community centre budget.

Blakenhall Community Centre will open for 58 hours a week, down from 75, under the council cost-cutting proposals.

Receptionist jobs are among those to be axed.

It forms part of Wolverhampton City Council's plan to save £123m by 2019.

As reported earlier this week finance chiefs have yet to find £40m of that total, meaning 'more pain' in the next four years.

Trade unions are in discussions with the council over the Blakenhall job losses.

Four jobs will go and one person will move from full time to part time.

But at the same time three new part-time jobs will be created so that the centre can continue to be properly manned.

Blakenhall councillor John Rowley has been in discussions about the centre's future.

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He said it would have to justify itself in order to stave off any further cuts to opening hours or jobs.

"You can't mothball a centre of that size and importance," Councillor Rowley said.

"In these difficult times it needs to justify itself.

"There was a great desire to have a quality community venue in Blakenhall and it has the area's first ever library within it.

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"The council is in a difficult situation but the gym and library are popular. We live in hope."

The centre also has a cafe and meeting rooms.

The £100,000 cut was first mooted in June last year when a series of proposals to save £25m were announced.

Community centres and libraries have been badly hit by the council's drastic budget savings with opening hours cut and jobs axed across the city.

A report which goes before the council's communities scrutiny panel next week outlines the Blakenhall restructure.

It states: "The revised opening hours will be structured around peak usage times and to allow regular groups to continue to meet in order to maximise the centre income.

"In order to try and mitigate against this reduction, work will be undertaken to investigate the feasibility of using alternative access arrangements for gym users, which may eventually result in an increase in gym opening hours.

"Centre users will be consulted on their preferred staffed opening hours via a customer survey.

"The staffing establishment of the centre will change to reflect both this reduction in opening hours but also to reflect changes in the way the centre is now being used and possible future use."

Council chiefs recently warned that more valuable services will have to go as the local authority looks to save tens of millions of pounds.

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