YEH!, the charity which runs Centre E on Barton Road in Ely, has been granted an extended lease on the building until 2030 by Cambridgeshire County Council, helping to secure the future of the building.
Youth Ely Hub Charitable Incorporated Organisation, a registered charity, was set up by local Councillor Elaine Griffin-Singh, with the support of fellow City of Ely, District and County Council colleagues. The charity took over the management of Centre E in 2015 to secure the community facilities and especially to provide a space from which youth services could operate. The County Council granted a short term, “less than best lease” on Centre E at nil cost for the first year, with the organisation paying 10% of income thereafter, but the lease was due to expire in 2020.
Since it began, the organisation has gone from strength to strength developing a strong volunteer committee and a huge variety of charities, community groups, social, health, and youth services running out of the building. Rooms are available to hire at community friendly rates for local groups.
Over 50 organisations currently operate from the building which also includes a number of County Council services. Centre 33 is a permanent onsite charity which provides counselling and support services for young people.
As well as the large main hall, the building has a number of counselling rooms and a purpose built therapy room for hire on an hourly basis to local service providers. Sanctuary Housing Association is currently looking to support the charity by donating computers and furniture to develop a community computer suite and DVLA have now moved their local theory driving test centre to Centre E. Later in the year, the building will also be hosting a week long free public educational science exhibition for children organised by the Cambridge Science Centre.
With the lease extension, YEH! can now apply for grant funding to improve the facilities. The vision includes extending the size of the Main Hall, new lighting and sound equipment, staging and a kitchen refit – subject to agreement by the landlord, Cambridgeshire County Council. Cllr Elaine Griffin-Singh said: “I am delighted that the County Council has granted Anna Bailey, speaking about her A10 upgrade motion at a Full Council meeting
at Shire Hall in May this extension to the lease so that we can pursue the grant funding. The upgrade will improve the Centre for our current users and significantly enhance the offer of new services which will secure the future of Centre E.”
County Councillor for Ely South, Cllr Anna Bailey helped to secure the lease in 2015 and supported the effort to get the lease extended. In her statement to the Commercial and Investment Committee at the County Council, Anna said: “Centre E is a well-loved and incredibly well used community building, which has become an absolute hub with an emphasis on activities and services for the community and young people. There is little doubt that this facility is helping to support community resilience in and around Ely.”
COLUMN: Councillor Anna Bailey