THE mayor of Whitchurch, Councillor Bev Duffy, has called on Shropshire Council to make urgent repairs to a town facility which helps community projects.

Centre NE, in Bridgewater Street, has been closed after works were needed for the roof, meaning Whitchurch Youth Club and the town’s Men in Sheds project were both forced to leave.

Cllr Duffy believes the value of the building in providing safe spaces for people of all ages means it needs to be repaired as a priority for Shropshire Council and hopes an appeal will allow the groups to return.

“This building is an important and valued space, especially for the town’s youth and the Whitchurch ‘Shed’, as it provides the space to meet safely,” she said.

“Whitchurch Town Council wish to do all we can to help secure and retain Centre NE as an important building for our community.

“It is widely recognised that being part of a group can help young people to develop important personal and interpersonal skills; it can help young people gain self-confidence and self-esteem and encourage young people to stay safe and help reduce the risk of becoming involved in unsafe activities.

“Youth organisations can also help change public perception of young people from being “the problem” to an important part of making life better in the community.

“Likewise, Men in Sheds was set up to alleviate social isolation in older gentlemen. Therefore it is of paramount importance these community groups retain the space at Centre NE to run their important groups.

“It is to this end that Whitchurch Town Council have agreed in principle to work with Shropshire Council to take on the building through the Community Asset Transfer process. We would really like to push this forward and help those community groups continue to use the building that they know.”

Cllr Duffy added that Whitchurch Town Council recently assisted the groups, including clearing drains to remove the eight inches of rainwater from the flat roof space.

She said: “The roof is in such a poor condition that much work will need to be undertaken before it is made wholly leak-proof, and it is hoped that the community will come together with this council and make this happen.”

Geoff Crowther-Smith is the secretary of Whitchurch Men in Sheds and he praised Shropshire Council for all the work they have done with the group, but he admitted they need to make the roof repairs to help the group.

“We’re in the process of moving everything out so we can put it into storage,” he said. “We haven’t found anywhere yet but we’re hoping.

“All we need is for Shropshire Council to fix the roof and then we can get back in and make the internal repairs.”

To help, contact Geoff on 07783 009299.

Shropshire Council were approached for comment.