Local council spending cuts lead to community centre closures

Hundreds of community centres have been closed or are facing closure because of local authority spending cuts, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

In Amsterdam and The Hague, one third of the community centres have been closed and Amersfoort is planning to hand all of its neighbourhood drop-in centres to volunteers, the Volkskrant says.

In Delft, eight centres have been shut. ‘It is painful, but we have no choice,’ said city alderman Raimond de Prez.

The closures mean traditional activities which took place in community centres – such as card nights for the elderly, language lessons and adult education classes – are now being held in other locations, such as sports club canteens or in care homes.

But Jennifer Elich of MOgroep, which represents social welfare organisations, says it is an illusion to think volunteers can take over the role of community centres. In addition, the cuts have led to the loss of some 6,000 jobs, she says.

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