A treasured community centre in Teignmouth, which closed in March after running out of cash, has reopened.

Trustees of the Meadow Centre took the ‘difficult decision’ to close after struggling to secure grant funding. Money issues were exacerbated by the poor state of the building.

However, the centre has been given a lifeline after changing its management structure so it can access funding more easily. The not-for-profit limited company, Kingsway Community Enterprises (KCE), has been converted to a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO), which will be known as Kingsway Community Association (KCA).

The move will open up more opportunities to maximise fundraising opportunities and enable the organisation to register for Gift Aid.

All but one of the KCA trustees are residents of Kingsway in Teignmouth.

Teignbridge councillor David Palethorpe has given the organisation a free of charge, three-month licence to use the Meadow Centre. And the trustees are working to provide Teignbridge District Council with a robust business plan to secure a ten-year lease to continue operations in the longer term.

‘It was important for such an important community asset for us to provide a breathing space to the new trustees for them to develop a business plan on how to take the Meadow Centre forward,’ said Councillor Palethorpe.

‘I have been very impressed with the new trustees and how quickly and committed they have been to recover from the sudden closure of the centre,’ he added. 

Councillor David Cox will provide KCA with £1000 from his Devon County Council Locality Budget to enable the organisation to keep the Meadow Centre open and he said he is hoping other donors, including Teignmouth Town Council, will provide funding.

The building, which was built in the 1960s on land given by the then Teignmouth Urban District Council, needs modernisation and repair. Repair and updating work is likely to cost £20,000, including rewiring and evicting squirrels who have taken up residence in the roof.

‘Once KCA has secured a lease they will apply for a grant from Landfill Tax Credits to put everything right,’ said Councillor David Cox. ‘The squirrels haven’t paid any rent, so they will be trapped humanely and released,’ he added.

Activities resumed at the Centre last week with Stay and Play with Teigny Explorers on Fridays, Teignmouth Neurodivergent Hub running Neuro Tots on Tuesdays and a Saturday club for school aged children and their parent. Fortnightly bingo sessions are taking place on Tuesdays and Fridays.

‘I’m really impressed by how quickly the community have rallied around the Meadow Centre and stepped up to the challenge of reopening and building back up for the benefit of local residents,’ said Teignbridge District Chair Rosie Dawson. ‘Becoming a trustee or director in a community project can feel daunting so I commend those involved who are going to be pivotal in securing a long-term support space for the area,’ she added.