Oasis Centre in Wisbech targeted by vandals and may have to make cuts to pay bills
A COMMUNITY centre being targeted by vandals may be forced to lay off staff and reduce opening hours to pay repair bills. They don t get anything out of it and yet they could cost the whole community a vital centre, said Chris Stevens, manager of the Oa
A COMMUNITY centre being targeted by vandals may be forced to lay off staff and reduce opening hours to pay repair bills.
"They don't get anything out of it and yet they could cost the whole community a vital centre," said Chris Stevens, manager of the Oasis Centre in Wisbech.
"The centre is a lifeline for the community because we work with them to find out what kind of courses they require to move on with their lives and apply for funding to enable them to do that."
Vandals struck on Christmas Day or Boxing Day ripping apart a sensor unit for the alarm system causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage. Previously they had smashed outside lights which will now have to be protected by cages. The windows have already been fitted with shutters.
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Mrs Stevens said: "If we have to continue to fund repairs then that money is being diverted from other things. When we apply for grants it has to be for a specific project not for general repairs.
"We will have to look at all the options but as we only have a small amount of money we may have to think about laying off staff and the number of hours we are open. Whoever is doing this I would ask them to please stop it. It is only in the last couple of months that this has started to happen and I have no idea why."
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The centre in St Michael's Avenue was opened in 2005 by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal after more than three years work by local residents. It is owned and run by a charity, the Wisbech Community Development Trust. It aims to provide support and activities for all age groups.
The centre employs five part time staff along with Mrs Stevens who works full time. There are toddler groups, support for young mums and families, and courses include anything from cookery to keep fit.