Organisations in Brent expecting funding warned to ‘stand on their own feet’

The centre opened in 1976

The centre opened in 1976 - Credit: Archant

Organisations in Brent which rely on town hall funding are being warned they should ‘be able to stand on their own two feet’ by the leader of Brent Council.

Cllr Muhammed Butt has issued a funding warning

Cllr Muhammed Butt has issued a funding warning - Credit: Archant

Cllr Muhammed Butt issued the stark warning after a website blunder revealed the council plans to axe all its funding for Stonebridge Adventure Playground (SAP).

However, the document which exposed the proposals was removed several hours later and replaced with an altered report that had no details on the future of its funding.

Cllr Butt told the Times the first document was an error but admitted funding cuts would take place across the board.

He said: “I need to find solutions for the chronic shortage in housing, I need to find solutions for children’s schooling, so they have the best outcomes in life and that’s exactly what we’re talking about, trying to find solutions.

“Every organisation that receives funding, I expect them to be able to stand on their own two feet.”

SAP in Shakespeare Road, Stonebridge, is fighting for survival after 38 years of serving the community after the council revealed plans to demolish it to make way for a school expansion and housing.

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Residents and the Times have been campaigning to save the centre, situated in one of the most deprived wards in the country, which has helped more than 30,000 youngsters including boxer and Big Brother star Audley Harrison.

A consultation into the plans ended on Monday and a final decision on its fate will be made in the New Year.

Cllr Butt has insisted he is neutral over the plans but the online blunder has angered Glynis Lee, who runs the centre with her husband Doug.

She said: “When Cllr Butt came to the centre and spoke to the community, he made some broad statements about nothing being decided yet, and had to remain neutral and look at the result of consultation.

“Obviously if you look at it now in the light of the decision to cut the funding, and the cabinet meeting in December, they already had decided.

‘‘The community won’t forget these things. He’s meant to be the leader of the council yet he’s saying he’s neutral and can’t make a decision.

“Who can make a decision then if the leader can’t?

Denying the claims, Cllr Butt said: “It is important to note that this funding issue is completely separate from the regeneration proposals for Stonebridge. They are two separate decisions.

“When they [SAP] asked me about continuous funding I said I cannot guarantee any organisation continuous funding because I’m not here to fund them for ever and ever, amen. I’ve got 800 organisations in Brent but we need to involve organisations who also want funding.

“But let me be absolutely clear about this, no decisions on their funding have been made.”

Whatever the decision, Mrs Lee said she will fight on to save SAP.

She said: “Stonebridge doesn’t cater for one school, it caters for dozens of schools after school and in the holidays.

“To focus all the resources on housing and school places is a big, big mistake and it’s storing up trouble for the future. Not just for our community but the whole of Brent if they keep doing this.

“We will continue to fight tooth and nail.”

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