This open message in on behalf of the Briardale Management Committee, as many centre users are aware, the Briardale Centre was unable to secure emergency funding from Blyth Town Council to assist in maintaining its future as a going concern. Committee members are also Charitable Trustees and cannot trade without solvency.
In order to keep the Community Centre open and able to deliver the essential services that run from the centre safe and in sound hands, The Committee have asked Northumberland County Council to step in. The Chief Executive of the County Council Mrs Lally has agreed to help and her team will take over the practical day to day running of the centre until a new operator can be found.
The Centre has had to make a full disclosure to the Charity Commission, known as a ‘Serious Incident Report’ as well as to the property owners, Northumberland County Council.
The Committee have pulled the centre back from the brink of closure and have been banking cash regularly over the last six weeks but can’t find the finance to carry it over the whole third sectors quiet period, It is also believed that the value of the assets at the centre are such that on transfer to a new operator the outstanding debts and loan from Northumberland County Council will be cleared leaving the new operator and the community and its users in a good safe position.
Over the last eighteen years the Committee and its Trustees have faced some difficult times with funding but none as bad as the current position we find ourselves in. But, through thick and thin we have kept the Centre open and have managed to maintain the ‘permanent’ staff jobs at the centre without redundancy.
We would like to thank firstly our staff. Who have shown incredible patience and loyalty through out this very difficult period.
Our regular Customers who have stuck by the centre and actually increased trade at the centre over the last few months.
Northumberland County Council and its Chief Executive (Mrs Lally) who furnished a loan to ensure wages would be paid.
Blyth Valley CVA who’s chief executive Thom Bradley has been an invaluable source of advice and his role in re-organising Governance at the centre has been extremely helpful.
The volunteers who help on a daily basis to organise functions and activities.
Of Course, not least, the Communities we serve, following the adverse publicity from the BBC the response has been brilliant in Cowpen and Kitty Brewster and right across Blyth from those who’s families have benefitted from the essential services delivered at the centre, including people from inside and outside South East Northumberland. The many messages of support and offers of practical help have been what’s kept the Committee going.
Finally, we would like to give a special thank-you to ASDA and to Mr Stuart Lister a business man both of whom have given their help generously and pulled out all the stops to ensure the Centre is able to assist all those in greatest need who require it most at this time of year.
Committee members would like to wish Northumberland County Council and the New Operator every success in the future.