Adamsdown community projects hit by collapse of People Can charity

November 30, 2012 No Comments »

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited the Adamsdown Community Project during the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ spring conference in April this year. He met children at the project’s homework club – just one of many activities it provides a base for.

The future of an Adamsdown community project in Cardiff has been thrown into doubt, while another has been forced to close, following the collapse of their parent company.

Adamsdown Community Project, a Communities First centre based on Moira Terrace, and Switched On, a supported learning scheme on Meteor Street, were both run by the charity People Can, which went into administration last week due to a £17million pension deficit.

Administrators PricewaterhouseCooper (PWC) have stressed that their priority is to find ways to keep the schemes supported by People Can going in some form, but two staff have already been made redundant at the Adamsdown Community Project, and the scheme is now trying to find a way to continue.

Five staff have lost their jobs at Switched On, and the project has now closed.

Adamsdown Community Project has been going for more than 10 years, offering a base for activities such as training, homework clubs, arts groups, action groups, and a children and young people’s forum.

Su West, the project’s former manager and co-ordinator, told yourCardiff that she and one other member of staff had lost their jobs last week as a result of People Can’s collapse, but she stressed that they were doing everything they could to keep the project going.

She explained that funding for the project came from the Welsh Government’s Communities First programme, with People Can managing that cash. They were now looking for someone else to take over this “host employer” role.

In the mean time, Su and her staff are continuing to run the project as volunteers.

She said: “We are still here. Staff are still coming in at the moment on a voluntary basis even though we were made redundant last week. We are hopeful that an organisation will be found quite soon to take over the running of the project, and everyone is working very hard to make that happen. In terms of the activities here, it’s business as usual.

“There’s a lot of support for this project, and a lot commitment from local people to make sure it carries on.”

Jonathan Gunter, who runs social enterprise Ministry of Life across Adamsdown and Splott, stressed how important the support of the Adamsdown Community Project had been to them.

He said: “The Adamsdown Community Project have been pivotal in our development. They have given us the kudos and political weighting over the four years we have been about to help us grow.

“They have helped us from the point where they donated two of their staff to help us set up the youth club, all the way up to becoming an independent organisation with its own staff team and then giving us arms length support with events. There is no way we could have done all that without other community clubs helping us but in particular Adamsdown Communities First.

“Part of the feelings I have at the moment are a bit scared because now we are out in the big wide world on our own and it makes such a difference knowing that someone can back you. We just have to go with it and hope that it all works out ok.”

Cardiff Council said it was working closely with the Welsh Government to make sure an alternative organisation was found to secure the future of the Communities First Programme for the Splott, Tremorfa, Adamsdown and Roath cluster.

Switched On was a supported learning programme for Cardiff and Newport, working with almost 30 partner organisations to provide skills training for people who have found it difficult to get mainstream jobs, with an aim “to build on their strengths, achieve their personal goals, and improve their skills, confidence and general life skills”.

The project’s website said it had funding from the Big Lottery until 2013, but the scheme has ended following the collapse of People Can.

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