Grafton centre gets lease of life with 20 year guarantee
Wednesday 17th October 2018 @ 14:18 by Tom Greggan
Hyde News Tameside

Staff, volunteers and members at the Grafton Centre have been celebrating this week after the long-term future of the centre was secured.

A 20 year lease has been signed with Tameside Council, bringing an end to a journey that’s lasted several years and has seen the centre become an independent charity.

Cllr Phil Fitzpatrick signed the lease with trustee Jacqueline Owen and he said he’s delighted that the lease has finally been signed. “It’s the end of a journey,” he said. “We’ve worked tirelessly to reach the situation we’re in now. We’ve got a thriving community centre here at the Grafton Centre.

“I’ve got to say, the Council have been very supportive and very helpful. The Leader of the Council, Cllr Brenda Warrington, is delighted we’ve taken this lease on. It’s onwards and upwards now.”

There have been fears in recent years that the centre could close due to funding cutbacks and it was felt the centre was an underused community asset. But, a charitable trust was set up which has since gone from strength to strength and was even given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service earlier this year.

“The whole ethos of the Grafton Centre is to defeat isolation and loneliness and we’ll be able to achieve that,” Cllr Fitzpatrick continued. “A lot of the people here worry over whether the Grafton Centre will still be here next year. But it’s busy every day now. It’s of great benefit to everybody in the area.

“We know that isolation and loneliness is a big, big thing within the community so we’ve got to get the message out there. Don’t sit there on your own; come down here, have a brew and a biscuit and enjoy a game of bingo. You don’t have to be really active and join in with the dancing classes if you don’t want to. Just come and have a brew, it’d be great to see you.”

The Grafton Centre, on Grafton Street in Hyde, is open to everyone seven days a week. You can contact the centre on 0161 368 4110 or visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/graftoncentrehyde.