Councillor denies wrong doing

PUBLISHED: 09:07 24 September 2011

Archant

A COUNCILLOR has defended his involvement in a charity which closed down in 2009.

Bob Bateman, who represents Weston’s South ward on North Somerset Council, was chairman of the South West Community Association (SWCA), which was a partner with the council in owning the For All Healthy Living Centre on the Bournville estate.

The charity was voluntarily closed down in November 2009 and the building handed over to the For All Healthy Living Company.

Councillor Bateman this week refuted claims made on an agenda distributed at a consultation meeting about the café that he was responsible for its closure.

He denied that he ‘cost the centre thousands of pounds’ or that he committed any ‘poor practices’.

He said: “It is totally untrue. We went through all the proper procedures and didn’t make a mess at all.”

He is now seeking legal advice over the allegations.

The SWCA was set up in 1971 and has provided a lunch club for the elderly since then.

A café was also set up six years ago when the current building was opened with money from a six-figure lottery grant.

Cllr Bateman said that although the centre’s café made a small profit, grants for the centre dried up during the recession.

He said the last grant the SWCA received was in January 2010.

The charity never went bankrupt but was forced to voluntarily close due to the lack of grant funding.

Councillor Bateman praised the role of the centre’s last two managers, Lesley Scally and Alison Yanni.

“They both did an excellent job,” he said.

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