Croydon Council has this month granted Croydon Youth Theatre Organisation – CYTO to its friends – a long lease of its premises in South Norwood with a Community Asset Transfer.
The asset transfer effectively hands over the responsibility for the council-owned premises to local community groups and trusts, like CYTO.
CYTO has been operating from its Shoestring Theatre on Oakley Road in South Norwood for almost 60 years.
David Page, CYTO’s chair, told Inside Croydon, “This will give the organisation long-term security and will make CYTO eligible to apply to a much larger number of funding bodies to improve the building.”
CYTO is setting up working parties to look into what its members, audiences, hirers and the local community want from the building and what improvements to the premises can achieve this.
“If any of your readers think they have the necessary skill sets,” Page said, “please could they get in touch with us at CYTO.”
As part of the council’s Community Asset Transfer, CYTO has been designated as a community hub for South Norwood’s regeneration project, so it is also looking for volunteers to cover the myriad duties that running this will entail, in tandem with its core theatre work with young people.
CYTO has have already hosted a local community partnership meeting organised by Croydon Voluntary Action, and school productions staged by Oasis Shirley Park. It is also used as a polling station on election days.
“Into the future, I am hoping that voluntary groups will use us for say lunch clubs, counselling sessions, food banks, neighbourhood watch meetings, residents’ association meetings and so on,” Page said.
“Voluntary groups in the borough did not have their contracts with the council renewed when they came to an end in March, and I would like to think we can offer them space at a reasonable rate to assist them at a time when their finances are horribly stretched.”
CYTO is also hiring the space out on a commercial basis, “to a wide range of groups serving various sections of the community”, and so far they have been a venue for tango dancers, capoeira classes, children’s dance sessions and even pole dancing groups.
On top of all that, CYTO makes good use of the building on four days a week for drama workshops, tech workshops and two singing groups.
For further details, Visit CYTO’s website at www.cyto.org.uk
“We’re always keen to hear from other voluntary organisations looking for accommodation for their activities, particularly those taking place during the day,” Page said.
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