SIR: I was disappointed to read Paul Hickey’s letter ‘Poor facilities in ‘happy’ place’ (Chronicle, Letters, August 6).

In his letter Mr Hickey states that The Carroll Centre has no clubs at all. Has he ever visited? Before lockdown, the centre ran weekly youth drop-in sessions; Gen Z, a club for primary school children; a ‘T Club’ which provided meals and support for vulnerable families; a thriving community café, and a soft play facility which offered employment and training to people in the hospitality and leisure industries who might otherwise struggle to gain training and employment. In addition, the Stanmore Gardening Club was started as a community initiative with support of the Carroll Centre and has been extremely popular and has continued online during the Covid crisis. The centre also provides daytime education and accredited training courses in partnership with Romsey Community College.

Mr Hickey may not have seen any of the articles in the Chronicle about the Woodland Trail which has recently opened behind The Carroll Centre. It was inspired by the Head of Centre who, together with Winchester City Council, also managed its construction.

This is an extremely difficult time for communities and individuals alike, so it seems strange for Mr Hickey to choose to attack a centre which had been providing a considerable number of community activities and services.

It is worth noting that Poppins Nursery at the centre was one of the few in the district to re-open for the summer term with rigorous safety measures for staff and children. The café has now re-opened and others services will resume in September.

For the record, the centre is not a grant-maintained community facility. It is a charity that has to fund-raise to maintain its work with children, young people and families in the local community.

Barbara Guthrie

Chair of Trustees,

The Carroll Centre,