‘Now or never’ in struggle to save Youth Centre

Campaigners battling to save Horncastle’s popular Youth Centre are hoping to get a financial lifeline from a ‘stalled’ town council project.
Horncastle Youth Centre.Horncastle Youth Centre.
Horncastle Youth Centre.

The town council earmarked £50,000 for a new recreation ground/skate park off Prospect Street.

However, they called a halt after failing to attract funding from outside bodies.

Now, Coun Dominic Hinkins - chairman of a working group trying to save the Youth Centre - is asking councillors to agree to assign ‘some or all’ of the £50k.

Councillor Dominic Hinkins - a leading figure in the fight to keep Horncastle Youth  Centre openCouncillor Dominic Hinkins - a leading figure in the fight to keep Horncastle Youth  Centre open
Councillor Dominic Hinkins - a leading figure in the fight to keep Horncastle Youth Centre open

He warns it is ‘now or never’ for the project and warns that if councillors reject his request, it could lead to the permanent closure of the building.

Coun Hinkins explained the money would give Lincolnshire County Council - the current owners - ‘reassurance’ that funding will be available to re-open - if grants from other groups prove hard to get, or the Covid 19 pandemic forces a longer-term closure.

Coun Hinkins said: “The first option is to fund the Youth Centre project now, and either scale back the skate park plans or pause them for a year or two.

“The second option would be to keep the entire £50,000 ring fenced for the skate park, and risk the Youth Centre being lost permanently.”

Coun Hinkins went on to dispute claims by fellow town councillor Richard Barker that it could take as much as £60K to get the Youth Centre up and running again.

Coun Hinkins added: “The figure of £60,000 is not an accurate representation of the cost of reopening.

“Our business plan contains a comprehensive and conservative five year plan of renovations and a cash flow forecast, which suggests a need for grant funding of between £10,000 and, at worst, £25,000 in the first year, with the centre generating income to cover its other costs.

“I am not asking the town council to commit to spending any money on the Youth Centre.

“I hope that this will not be necessary as other funding avenues are approached.

“The Prospect Street park, while in need of improvement, is not about to be closed or demolished if reserve funding is reduced or withdrawn.

“There will be future opportunities to allocate funding for it, in the event that any of the pot is used.

“For the Youth Centre, however, this is a now or never opportunity, and the availability of funding could be ‘make or break’ for the business case.

“If the funding is not allocated now, the building may well not be here next year.”