Street Still In Trouble
by Rob Smith
voices in and around Verdon Street are still shouting for things
to change, but shouts are all that seem to take place as the future
of both Verdon Street Recreation Centre and The Furnival Café
are presently in some doubt.
The Recreation centre opposite the Furnival Café
on Verdon Street has been funded through City Council Community
Recreation and used to have a community-led management committee.
Sadly, the last two or three years have seen a steady decline in
commitment towards the running of a recreation centre that has so
Young people’s letters of complaint, sent
to the Messenger, held reports of sessions not being delivered to
local youths and groups being locked out. Others focussed on the
breakdown of the community management structure. Addressing this
issue over a year ago Community Recreation temporarily assigned
local man Leroy Betts the job of administration, user group liaison,
and opening and securing the building.
From the 1st of October 2002 the funding for Leroy
Betts post comes to an end, David Frith on behalf of Community Recreation
explains, “there is no longer any budget allocated for staffing
the centre.” In the meantime area recreation worker Paul Young
will take up a part-time role developing sport and physical activity
in the area. Additional staffing is uncertain at present.
Between now and March 2003 Community Recreation
will operate and manage the building on a temporary basis. They
will look at options for running the centre in the future, including
a community organisation taking on the task.
Walking across the street to the Furnival Café
those cries of a struggle continued. As I entered, Josie, at her
usual station behind the café’s counter, didn’t
look happy. I’d heard talk of the Furnival closing down and
I wanted Jane Grinonneau to set the record straight.
“The Furnival and Verdon Street Enterprises
are changing, not closing,” Jane said, though adding that
the Nearly New Shop would have to close at the end of September
due to a lack of custom. “As for the café and the launderette
they will stay.”
Seeing Josie as not being one to dress up a crisis,
I guessed a lack of custom could mean things getting tight all round.
The long petition sitting on the counter in front of me, sadly spoke
Jane went on to say that the Furnival Cellar Space
and Cellar After School Homework Project are very much alive and
agreed that joint management arrangements for The Furnival, Verdon
Street Enterprise and Verdon Street Recreation Centre could be the