White House future secured for local community
Release Date: 19 January 2021
The future of the White House in Hampton is secured, now that a potential new partner has been identified to operate the community centre, members of the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee heard last night (Monday 18 January 2021).
Last year, Richmond Council stepped in to support the partial reopening of the White House in Hampton following the announcement that Hampton on Thames Community Association (HoTCA) needed emergency support as a result of the pandemic.
The Council worked with HoTCA to understand their situation and also provided emergency monthly funding to enable the centre to remain partially open. However, following the initial lockdown, HoTCA surrendered their lease to the Council in order to secure the long-term future.
Since then, the Council has worked with The Hampton Fund and other stakeholders, to identify a new partner to help run the centre. To ensure that several vital community services can continue to run from the White House, the YMCA St Paul’s Group, who previously held the contract with HoTCA until November 2019, have agreed to provide short-term staffing and centre management until the summer and then, subject to contract a wider 25-year lease, from September.
As part of any new contract, the YMCA St Paul’s Group would like to work with other local organisations and community centres in the area, to provide an exciting, wider complement of services and activities, that will keep the White House at the heart of the community once more.
Cllr Michael Wilson, Lead Member for Equality, Communities and the Voluntary Sector for Richmond Council, said:
"I would like to thank the Hampton upon Thames Community Association for all they have done to keep the White House open during the pandemic to date. They are also working with us to enable the smooth transition to a new partner running the centre. The Council has provided additional funding to ensure that the pre-school, foodbank, and other local organisations could continue to operate from the building during the pandemic.
"But longer term that is not enough. We want to build upon the community offer from the White House to keep it thriving. A facility that provides 21st century services – working in close partnership with local people to develop the activities they would like see held there and engaging with valued organisations in the area to make that happen.
"Therefore, we are pleased that the YMCA St Paul’s Group have agreed to return and not only help in the short term, but then, when COVID-19 restrictions disappear we expect on a longer-term basis.
"We know how much the White House is valued by the communities it serves in the local and surrounding areas and by the Council. We want to ensure that the Centre continues to play such an important role."
Richard James, CEO of YMCA St Paul’s Group, added:
"The YMCA has worked with young people and communities around Hampton for many years. Over the next few months and beyond we look forward to working with the Council, Hampton Fund, Richmond Foodbank and other key community partners to address how we can create a thriving centre at the heart of the community that helps bring people together as we eventually come out of this pandemic."
Notes for editors
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Up to: January 2021
Updated: 24 March 2021