Mum’s the word in fight to save well-used cen­tre Sup­port­ers need to find an ad­di­tional £800 a month to safe­guard its fu­ture

Staines Informer - - FRONT PAGE - Matt Strud­wick

A GROUP of mums has started a cam­paign to save a much-loved com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity in En­gle­field Green un­der threat of clo­sure as it strug­gles to meet its costs.

The Vil­lage Cen­tre in Vic­to­ria Street needs to gen­er­ate an ex­tra £800 a month.

Opened in Septem­ber 2010, it is a meet­ing place and a com­mu­nity café and pro­vides ser­vices to the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing a range of chil­dren’s classes, weekly free lifts to Egham Post Of­fice and meals for those alone on Christ­mas Day.

Mum Sam Bai­ley, who set up The Vil­lage Cen­tre En­gle­field Green Face­book page, reg­u­larly uses the cen­tre.

“When my chil­dren were ba­bies and I des­per­ately needed to chug down freshly brewed cof­fee and moan to fel­low mums about my se­vere lack of sleep, there was al­ways The Vil­lage Cen­tre,” she said.

“The Vil­lage Cen­tre is this crit­i­cal life­line for our fan­tas­tic lit­tle area. The time we are re­ally go­ing to recog­nise its value is if we lose it, and that re­ally is un­think­able, at least in my mind. It’s a great all­round fa­cil­ity and I am a mas­sive sup­porter.”

A vol­un­teer-led Baby Ba­sics ini­tia­tive is also held at the cen­tre.

This pro­vides a Moses bas­ket and es­sen­tial items to sup­port new moth­ers who are strug­gling to meet the fi­nan­cial and prac­ti­cal bur­dens of look­ing new baby.

Cen­tre man­ager Jayne Wat­son said: “The Vil­lage Cen­tre is such a great re­source for so many peo­ple in the area and it is heart­break­ing to even think of clo­sure.

“Sadly, al­though the cen­tre is used by many peo­ple in the vil­lage, we just can’t cur­rently cover our costs.

“We are putting out an ap­peal to the lo­cal com­mu­nity af­ter a

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to help in which­ever way they can – whether this be through vol­un­teer­ing for a few hours a week, bak­ing some cakes for the café or com­ing in to try some­thing from a de­li­cious break­fast or lunch menu.”

A new ini­tia­tive open to res­i­dents and busi­nesses is to be­come an of­fi­cial Friend of The Vil­lage Cen­tre, which in­volves a monthly £10 di­rect debit and will pro­vide those that sign-up with an un­lim­ited sup­ply of tea and cof­fee – all in the hope of gen­er­at­ing ex­tra in­come.

Ros Fer­nan­dez, 42, who runs Mu­sic With Mummy at the cen­tre, said: “I’ve been running my busi­ness for over eight years and the Vil­lage Cen­tre pro­vides an es­sen­tial meet­ing place for lots of new par­ents and car­ers.

“In­stead of closing places like this down, we should be think­ing about en­sur­ing ev­ery com­mu­nity has a re­source such as this. It would be so sad to see The Vil­lage Cen­tre close and I re­ally hope the com­mu­nity can get to­gether and help sup­port such a valu­able re­source.”

To sign up to be­come a Friend or for a list of ac­tiv­i­ties visit www.vil­lage­cen­tre. org.uk or The Vil­lage Cen­tre En­gle­field Green Face­book page.

Cam­paign­ers are de­ter­mined to do all they can to save the much-loved Vil­lage Cen­tre in En­gle­field Green.

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