THE Oasis Christian Centre would have to close both its shops in Winyates and in Woodrow if the council goes ahead with its plans to remove concessionary rents from local voluntary and community organisations using its premises.
In addition Redditch Foodbank would have to close its branch in Winyates Centre.
The Rev Robin Baker, chair of trustees at the charity Acts of Kindness which runs it, said they were already looking for new premises.
Speaking on the council’s plans he said: “The problem is they do not have a clue what they are doing – they do not know what is going on in the town.”
“Demand for food has gone up 45 per cent and we are in for the worst Christmas ever.
“I totally understand the council is in a state financially and they have got to do something to balance the books but what they do not have is a clue about what is going on in the community.
“They do not get out there, they do not talk to people,” added Rev Baker who said he would have to make five people redundant if the measure went through.
“We have hundreds of people come through our shops, we support them, people with mental health issues, with anxieties, and we give them somewhere to go.
“And every penny we raise from the sale of clothes and bric-a-brac goes right back into the community of Redditch.
“The councillors can sit there and give themselves a big pay rise but when those concessionary rents are removed when they are helping support the community I do not know what is going to happen.”
“These organisations provide huge amounts of support to those of us in the poorer parts of the town.They provide clubs, activities, groups, and financial support and advice.They change peoples lives. Where will we all go and who will help us when these places no longer exist? How much is it going to cost the Council when they have to pick up the pieces? How many of us will lose our homes without good financial and budgeting advice?”
A Bellamy, Matchborough
“I AM appalled that Redditch Borough Council is even considering raising the rents on some of the voluntary sector properties in a doomed attempt to save money. Does the Council not realise just how much money the voluntary sector saves it by doing the jobs the Council used to do but have been robbed by austerity measures of the means to do them? I can only hope that Councillors will stop such a short-sighted measure in its tracks. Or how about refusing the extra £60,000 they awarded themselves? That would make up the shortfall.”
W Johnson, Church Hill
“BATCHLEY Support Group is extremely concerned by the council’s proposals. The impact this will have on ourselves and other charities will be devastating. In real terms the change means that over 60 bags of food per month will no longer be available to those in need, we believe we will have to find £5,500 plus per year this equates to 720 bags of food per year. Why are Redditch Borough Council targeting those in most need?”
J Barron, Batchley
“This is a false economy.When these groups are forced to shut their doors for the final time Redditch Borough will have a huge void in community services which will have to be filled.I sincerely hope an alternative to this destructive policy can be found.”
M Tomes, Church Hill
“WE the Labour Councillors for Greenlands, Woodrow and Wirehill are vehemently opposed to the attacks by this Conservative-led council by taking away concessionary rent relief for our charities.
This cut attacks the very heart and soul of our volunteer services, this in turn hurts the most vulnerable in our town not only for the users but also the staff and volunteers who give of their time.”
Labour Councillors J Baker, W King, J Wheeler
“WHILST I realise that, given the fragile financial position the council finds itself in means cost cutting needs to take place, I find it difficult to believe the council can be as heartless as this and remove concessionary rents from services such as Batchley Support Group, Inspire, Reach CIC and more.
These services have supported the most vulnerable members of our community when they have had no where else to turn.What kind of ruling council do we have if this is their first port of call for making savings?”
C Davies, Crabbs Cross
“I AM totally opposed to the proposed cuts to concessionary rates relief from our local charities.
We have many who need help and this would lead to intense pressure on our hard pressed NHS and other organisations. It is acknowledged Central Government has virtually abandoned local authorities, who in turn are struggling to provide services and the involvement of these charities is vital.”
Councillor P Hill, Batchley & Brockhill
“THE fact that councillors just approved a pay rise for themselves and are now looking to make cuts in the most needy areas, in my view this is no different to a parent spending their benefits on alcohol and cigarettes for themselves before getting their kids sorted.We need our voluntary sector to be supported not penalised!”
J Thomas, service user and volunteer