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Markham leisure centre proposed budget cut of £10,000

MARKHAM community house and leisure centre may not survive if a proposed £10,000 budget cut goes ahead, its manager has said.

The proposed cut is part of Caerphilly County Borough Council’s draft budget for 2023/24, which is currently out for consultation until February 8.
A 50% reduction to the subsidy which pays for caretakers at community centres is also proposed.

Sharon Burrell said the cuts were “unexpected” and could impact the future viability of the community leisure centre.
Ms Burrell, who has managed the centre for the past eight years, said: “We might not survive it. It’s the only money we get from the council.
“Do they want places like this to close? We rely on a lot of people’s goodwill to come in and help. Sometimes I work 12 hours each day on weekends as a volunteer.”
She added: “It’s a huge building and costs an absolute fortune to keep clean and our electricity bill is £2,000 a month. You go into other leisure centres in the borough and there are sensor lights, but here you have just got me that runs around switching lights off.”

Markham Community Leisure Centre

The centre runs a Thursday lunch club, a “chit and chat” group, and opens as a warm hub. Ms Burrell said: “This will all be lost if it closes down and there’s nothing else in the village.
“We’re in difficult times anyway, we may have been able to drag through it but I don’t know now because they have taken that £10,000.”

Council leader Sean Morgan has previously said the council is feeling the impact of Brexit, the pandemic, rising energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis.
He said some “unpalatable” decisions have had to be made to plug the budget gap of £48 million over the next two financial years.

Argoed community councillor Garry Lewis said: “I think it’s unfortunate to say the least but understandable.”
He added: “If it has to shut or lose its services, it’s a bit like what happens to a community when a school closes. To a large degree it holds the community together.”

A council spokesperson said: “This is one of a number of savings proposals being considered by the council as part of the 2023/24 budget setting process.
“It is clear that we will need to take some difficult decisions in order to deliver a balanced budget, but it is important to note these are proposals at the moment and residents are encouraged to have their say by taking part in our ongoing budget consultation.”