Trustees at the Kenilworth Centre are hoping Kenilworth Town Council will pass a special resolution to hear a revised proposal from the centre after the council refused to continue funding the centre beyond May this year.
At the last town council meeting on Thursday January 14, John Whitehouse, Chair of Trustees at the Kenilworth Centre, directly asked the council if they would hear a revised proposal in February.
We’re trying to plan for all eventualities and we’re trying to be very proactive.John Whitehouse
This was rebuffed by the town mayor, Cllr Michael Coker (Con, Abbey), who explained that unless a special resolution supported by at least five councillors goes ahead, the council’s decision in December not to continue funding the centre must stand until May.
Mr Whitehouse’s question came after a meeting between him and the MP for Kenilworth and Southam, Jeremy Wright, over the Christmas period to discuss the future of the Kenilworth Centre.
The outcome of the meeting was to submit a revised proposal to the town council, but the council will now not receive the proposal unless the special resolution is passed.
Due to the political make-up of the town council, Mr Whitehouse contacted Cllr John Cooke (Con, St John’s), the leader of the Conservative Group, and therefore the council, to convince fellow councillors to agree to the resolution.
Mr Whitehouse said: “My question was a genuine desire to know whether or not the town council was open to a revised proposition, which is what I discussed with Jeremy Wright.
“We’re trying to plan for all eventualities and we’re trying to be very proactive. It’s a question of turning the support we’ve received into something more tangible.
Mr Whitehouse also spoke positively about the centre’s recent open day. He said: “We had a very steady flow of people arriving through the day - people who were really interested and engaged.
“In a number of cases people offered their support - one person came in with a £1,000 cheque, and another wanted to become a trustee.
“We want assure all of our users that we’re fine. In the worst-case scenario we can live off our reserves for the year. We have to not panic and work through this.”
Cllr Cooke said that although he has consulted the members in the Conservative group and is awaiting their replies, he was not confident enough councillors would support the special resolution.
He said: “I personally don’t see what the hurry is - I don’t think there’s any rush. When we passed our resolution back before Christmas, we said we would consider an application for a grant of £7,500 for its youth work in May. There’s also nothing to stop people putting forward future motions in May.
“The centre does have considerable cash reserves, but having said that the town council is hoping that the centre can get itself on a proper economic footing.”
Kenilworth Town Council voted to cut the centre’s £30,000-a-year funding at a meeting in December, which it had provided over the last four years after Warwickshire County Council stopped funding youth services in the town.