Community centre may have to close down clubs as council slashes funding

The Citadel, which has served locals for more than 40 years, has issued a funding plea to help keep services running.

A much-loved community centre in Edinburgh fears it will have to cut back its offering as a significant drop in funding from the council is set to hit in April.

The Citadel in Leith has been a community stalwart for more than 40 years for people of all ages.

It supports a variety of groups for children and teenagers, as well as events for parents and elder members of the community – such as the weekly intergenerational café.

But the committee said they need to find new revenue streams with funding from the local authority set to decrease.

The Citadel has benefited for the past three years from a £175,000 grant each year from Edinburgh City Council.

But their latest application only resulted in a partial award, with that figure now set to drop to £50,000 per annum.

Becky Cunningham attends the Citadel centre with her son

Citadel manager Willy Barr told STV News: “That scale of cut means we really need to re-look at what services we’re running and what staff can be involved in providing those services.

“We will need to look very closely at what youth clubs we’re running.

“We’re like a big family here, and it’s like having to forcibly remove folk from that family.

“That’s not a great feeling. I’m really upset I’ve been put in this situation.

“And it’s one I’d really appeal to the council to consider reviewing.”

City of Edinburgh Council say all groups benefitting from the grant know there’s no guarantee they’ll receive the same funding after the set term.

The application process had been incredibly competitive, meaning cash needs to be spread further between more beneficiaries.

Organisations like the Citadel, who have received less than they potentially expected, will also be given support to explore other funding options.

Councillor Joan Griffiths, convener for Education, Children and Families at the council, said: “Our Connected Communities Edinburgh grants programme tackles the impact of poverty on children, families and communities across all communities in Edinburgh.

“At the start of the process we engaged and listened to third sector and voluntary organisations about their first-hand knowledge of what the need was in our communities and where funding should be directed.

The Citadel hosts a range of clubs and services

“The quality of applications for the grants programme was extremely high with many creative and well-presented submissions.

“In total we had funding bids of £16.7m from our available budget of £10m over the three years. This meant not everyone who made submissions would receive the funding they asked for.

“However, we will support those organisations who have been impacted to apply for alternative funding streams.

“These grants, which includes 19 new organisations, will benefit vulnerable and disadvantaged young people and their families in Edinburgh.

“We will of course continue to monitor the progress of the funding over the coming three years to ensure the outcomes promised for our communities are being delivered.”

The Citadel will start receiving their new grant payments from April.

Local politicians are liaising with the Citadel’s committee to see how they can help.

Labour Leith Ward Councillor Katrina Faccenda argues there must be more transparency around the process.

She said “I think first of all there are a lot of questions that are still to be answered about the process that the Council used in awarding the grants.

“So that’s something I’ve got a lot of questions about and I have written to the committee convener.

“We have to look at ways that we can help actually mitigate the affects of the impact of that loss of funding.”

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