HANDING over a York community centre to volunteers will make a huge difference when it comes to planning for the future and making it financially viable.

City of York Council is getting ready to hand over Tang Hall Community Centre to its trustees on a 30 year lease at a peppercorn rent, and trustees say the move will help them make the centre viable and sustainable for years to come.

Cllr Tina Funnell, who represents Heworth on the city council and is chairman of the community centre trustees, said she was thrilled with the plans.

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She said: “We have been in negotiations for some time about having a longer lease because when it comes to funding bids a shorter lease is not always very helpful. The council has understood where we are coming from.”

A 30 year lease will make it much easier for the trustees to plan strategically for the future, she added.

The centre is in the middle of the full refit of toilet facilities and meeting rooms, she said, all to help make it pay its way. It hosts everything from housing and debt advice sessions to the foodbank, cafes and social clubs and other services.

It is a “warm and welcoming” centre for the community with a lot going on, Cllr Funnell said.

“We’ve got a great bunch of trustees and a local manager who does a great job,” she added.

The city council’s executive will be asked to approve the lease at a meeting next week, and if it goes ahead Tang Hall will follow in the footsteps of Clementhorpe Community Centre, Priory Street Community Centre, Oaken Grove Community Centre and the Clements Hall to become community managed. A report written by council officers Tim Bradley and Andy Laslett says the Tang Hall centre serves an area of high deprivation, with mixed communities of families, older people and students.

The trustees have set out business plan for the centre, saying it is unique because it hosts a variety of different activities and so does not rely on contract income. This means it can operate completely without state influence and do exactly what local people say they need.

It can also use strong local networks to “reach the parts that others cannot reach”, they added.