£15,000 grant to make Oatlands a centre for tackling social isolation

Oatlands Pre-School manager Abi Andrews and Oatlands Pre-School chairperson Geri Payne with Coun John Enins, Oatlands Community Group members and youngsters. (1702284AM1).

Oatlands Pre-School manager Abi Andrews and Oatlands Pre-School chairperson Geri Payne with Coun John Enins, Oatlands Community Group members and youngsters. (1702284AM1).

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A £15,000 grant has been awarded to Oatlands Pre-School to deliver a community centre committed to tackling social isolation.

The pre-school charity already hires out the community hall at their premises in the former Oatlands Methodist Church, but has been previously held back by a lack of facilities to succeed in making the hall a fully operational community centre.

With only one toilet block serving visitors to the hall and pre-school pupils, the centre has been unable to function during the school week.

Thanks to the grant from North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities fund, the pre-school and the hall will have two separate entrances, and an extra toilet block built – making it achievable for a centre to be open from as early as 7am or 8am until 10 or 11pm, every day, throughout the year.

Geraldine Payne, chair of the Oatlands Pre-School committee, said: “We want to open up the centre to help end social isolation within our community. Everyone’s lifestyles are so busy nowadays, people can be isolated within their own families. We want to use this as an opportunity to bring everyone together, from all different age groups.

“The grant will hopefully enable us to follow our vision of having as many different community groups as possible using the facility and holding events. We’re hoping that it will become a big part of the community.

“Even though we are creating two separate entrances for the pre-school and the community centre, they are still very much joined. It is important for the children to be involved in the community and mix with different generations.

“You come to the pre-school at a young age, and now we can help people beyond that into their old age. We’re looking at encouraging health visitors to get in touch with us and groups for mums for example.”

Backers of the new venture include Andrew Jones MP, and councillors Cliff Trotter and John Ennis.

Andrew Jones said: “The opportunity that would be created by this capital project would be a valuable asset.” Email: enquiries@oatlandscommunitycentre.co.uk