Community group talks of betrayal
IPSWICH: Furious members of the Ipswich Caribbean Association are today desperately trying to save the organisation after its funding was axed by the borough.
ICA chairman Albert Grant believe the decision by the borough’s executive to pull funding from the organisation was part of a move to sell off the site of the International Community Centre in Woodbridge Road.
And he believed that the shooting incident at the club earlier this year gave the council another reason to cut the funding.
He said: “We are not at all surprised that the council rejected our business plan. The shooting will be used as an excuse to knock down the Caribbean Club and build flats in its place. We will go down fighting.
“I really don’t think there is any more we could have done for them. We produced business plans and sent them out to them but every time they came back wanting more information from us.
“I don’t think they wanted us to find a way of carrying on.”
Mr Grant insisted that the ICA, which was set up in 1975, would survive.
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It has been based in Woodbridge Road since 1980 – the building has become a hub for the community.
He said: “It is a home that people come to for events and meetings. It is a place they feel they belong it is very important to the whole community.”
The ICA had been hoping to get a three-year funding agreement for about �60,000 a year for the next three years.
Mr Grant, a former mayor of Ipswich, said if the money had been freed the ICA would then have been in a position to apply for lottery funding to carry out improvements to the borough-owned community centre.
Nadia Cenci, borough councillor with responsibility for licensing and the community centre, said the borough still hoped to work with the ICA to allow it to develop in other ways.
She said: “We would like to help them setting up a community centre that everyone could use – but unfortunately they had been unable to come up with a business plan that answered all the questions.
“We have to be very careful with how we spend public money.”
What should happen to the ICA? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org