The role of the community centre is important and support is needed

Friday, 15th October

• HIGHGATE Newtown Community Centre provided the best memories of my childhood. As school dragged on, the prospect of playing football with my friends in the centre’s sports hall was all I thought about.

The centre was (& still is) brilliantly run with children of all ages able to play sport for an hour after school for the cost of just £1. The youth football team set up there even entered tournaments across the borough, encouraging young players to show their skills.

Over the years the centre has proved extremely adaptable in supporting our community through food parcel distribution, and subsidised community lunches, despite being without a building in Bertram Street.

And, with a new building set to be ready for occupancy in late 2022, it is exciting the centre will be able to offer some of its old services, including youth sport.

However it is paramount that the funding challenge that remains is not forgotten. Camden has put significant investment into the regeneration of the centre and it is critical that the resource burden is shared.

The current funding shortfall is around £400,000 and I urge any foundations, trusts, families or individuals to support in any way they can. The importance of sport in the development of children and teenagers is too often neglected.

I still have a newspaper clipping from the CNJ hung up on my bedroom wall from when my primary school won the Camden School Sports Association title in 2005. That’s how much it meant to me.

And it is through community centres that many children often get their chance to play sport at an affordable price. They are the bedrock of communities and can create memories that many children and young adults never forget, and help shape the people that they become. Their funding must not be forgotten.

CAMRON AREF-ADIB, NW5

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