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Club Meeting - The Graham Adams Centre

By Robin Cooter - Posted on 27 October 2015

The Centre was originally set up by the Congregational Church as a community centre and a base for their own national meetings.   The problem was that there is no railway station in Southam, with the nearest in Leamington or Rugby so this part of the project went belly up.   15 years ago it became the “Southam Church and Community Project Ltd, or SCACP for short, who lease the property from the Church.   This really went very well until about 5 years ago when the owners of the buildings, the Congregational Church, put the £6,000 p.a. rent up to £30,000 p.a!  This was negotiated down to around £15000 pa but was the start of their financial problems.  This was compounded when the Children’s Centre was forced to close.

They presently serve a wide diversity of community groups.  They run “The Bridge Café”, a community café, they are the  base of the Southam Food Bank, Age Concern, Southam Gymnastics, Rainbows, The Youth Club, Brownies, Guides, Slimming World, Academy 1 Dance, Community Education, Parent and Toddler Group, Leamington and Warwick Academy of Dance, Southam Rural Cinema, NCT Breastfeeding Group, GKP Karate.  They sponsor “Growing Southam” which brings the young and the old together in a project of growing and preparing food, two groups that do not come together enough.   They also run “Messy Mealtimes” which is a parent and under 5s “food preparation group”!  Sally and Debbie brought in the makings of a banana split and 3 teams were challenged to produce the ultimate Banana Split.   The competition was won by Tessa, Peter and Richard who produced a passable banana split – but don’t give up the day job guys!  In the interest of common decency I will not reveal the contestants in the other two teams!   However one clearly one team did not understand that a banana needed to be opened up in a banana SPLIT!   The final team’s entry is better not discussed – clearly they do not cook at home.   Richard looked very worried during the event, clearly concerned about the food hygiene standards not being met!

Seriously though.   It’s obvious that the Centre is well used by the community, with evenings fully booked but with a less than 50% usage during the day.   This, coupled with somewhere in the region of a £15,000 shortfall of income over expenditure the centre is at risk and the Southam community would really suffer if it did not survive.

What they ask of us is USE THEM, BE AN ADVOCATE FOR THEM, PROVIDE SUPPORT, SPONSOR A PROJECT and JOIN THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.   As I read the situation there biggest need is administrative help.   The Board is only 5 strong but with people on the board who could go after more grants, sponsorship, tap into the local business community and develop daytime use particularly from commercial sources etc. could make a huge difference.

They both deserve and need to survive!