Disability charity to take over troubled Yate community centre

A CHARITY which helps adults with disabilities is planning to revive a Yate community centre after taking over the lease.

Paul’s Place is planning a million-pound expansion, and plans to move its operations to the troubled Shire Way Centre from its current premises at Coalpit Heath Cricket Club by the end of the year.

The charity says the move will allow Paul’s Place to grow and offer services to many more people in the area.

The Shire Way centre has been closed since the Charity Commission launched an investigation into its finances and management two years ago.

Paul’s Place will take over the site, moving from its current leased space in Serridge Lane, after being awarded the Shire Way lease in a “closed bid” process, which is understood to have involved several other takeover offers.

The charity works to enhance the lives of physically disabled adults by providing social activities that connect people, reduce isolation, improve health and well-being, and give people the opportunity to develop new skills and enjoy new experiences.

Chief executive Lynda Williams said they had allocated £900,000 to buy the centre’s 65-year lease, along with funding refurbishment work.

She said the new look centre will include a community café run by Paul’s Place members, an allotment area, and rooms for hire for events and local organisations.

Lynda said: “The much-loved Shire Way Community Centre, in Yate, has sat untouched since 2022 but our charity is going to bring it back to life. 

“We are extremely excited about our move to Shire Way and the opportunities it will create for not only the charity but the residents of Yate.

“It means we can increase our daily activities and our facilities for all our members. 

“And it means we’ll be able to take on more members in the future, so it’s a really good day for Paul’s Place and it’s a fantastic day for people who have physical disabilities and use our services, now and in the future.

Charity has ‘outgrown’ its current home

“Our current home at the cricket club has been great but with growth and increasing demand for our services, we have simply outgrown the building.”

Lynda said the charity hoped to create a ‘Paul’s Place Hub’ – a completely accessible building that will allow it to support more disabled people to live their life to the full.

She added: “We really hope the local community will get behind our plans and support us as much as possible.”

The news has been welcomed by local councillors in Yate. 

Move is ‘exciting’ for Yate

The town’s mayor Cheryl Kirby, who is a Dodington ward councillor on South Gloucestershire council, said: “The prospect of a fully accessible ‘Paul’s Place Hub’ at Shire Way is genuinely exciting.

“We are excited to see how the charity’s expanded offerings will benefit the community and help individuals locally live fulfilling lives.”

In January 2022 the Charity Commission launched an inquiry into the Shire Way Community Association, “over concerns about misconduct and/or mismanagement”.

The centre has been closed and unused ever since.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said the inquiry was still “ongoing”.