Concerns raised over Moat Centre’s future

CONCERN over the future of the Moat Community Centre in Rothesay, and other community facilities in Argyll and Bute, has been raised by local SNP councillor Robert Macintyre.

Three employees at the Moat Centre have been given redundancy notices which will take effect on March 31, 2012.

The move follows approval, at the council’s 2011-12 budget meeting in February of a proposal to stop providing cleaning and stewarding services at the area’s community centres, saving a total of £194,000.

But Cllr Macintyre says the effect on the local facility, and other community centres facing similar staffing cuts elsewhere in the area, will be disastrous.

The community centres in question are all run by user groups known as ‘centre councils’ – but Cllr Macintyre, who chairs the Moat Community Centre Council, told The Buteman there was a risk these centre councils might give up completely in the face of the additional responsibilities and extra costs created by the staff redundancies.

“The buildings belong to the council,” Cllr Macintyre pointed out. “There is no reason why they should not be serviced like any other public building owned by the council, and I am sure that with more careful planning on the council’s part, the same savings could be taken without dropping centre councils in at the deep end with virtually no consultation.

“We are calling on the council to look again at the way in which these cuts are being implemented, and consider if savings cannot be found in an alternative.”

A council spokesperson said: “Janitorial cover is being removed from community centres with effect from March 31 2012.

“Full consultation has already taken place with the affected staff and their trade unions. We are currently working with community centre councils to investigate means of mitigating this staff reduction.”

“These changes were agreed at the budget in February but won’t be implemented until next year.”