THE future vision for Southend’s Ironworks includes a youth club, a recording studio and another business on the top floor if the community can rally to help save the centre in time. 

Bosses of the Ironworks are facing a race against to ensure the community centre survives as the funding that saw it launch two years ago comes to an end. 

A petition calling for support has been signed by 1,310 people and the co-founders and staff are calling on the community to help it reach 1,500 so they can take it to Parliament. 

Ami and Natalie Solomons, co-founders, are also pushing for National Lottery community funding and Levelling Up funding from the Government but believe that the key to survival is support from the residents of Southend

If extra funds are not secured, the Ironworks, in Southend High Street, will close on February 9 next year.  In a bid to gain extra support, they have revealed their long term plans to develop the site to increase its value. 

  Ami, 40, said: “This is really important, where do you go to meet new people?”

“It’s important for people in the additional needs community to have somewhere to go. Teenagers have a massive problem, there are stabbings, antisocial behaviour, there’s nowhere for children to go.

“Children don’t play and they have all this pent-up energy. We need somewhere safe for these people to go, there is nowhere safe to go on the streets, people are safe here though.”

The centre has a coffee shop, community space and artist studios.  Ami added: “We would like a recording studio and a music studio downstairs, a place for counselling in the basement. On the floor above we want a youth centre and for the 2nd floor we want a business partner to match our values.”

Natalie added: “We met with Anna Firth MP who told us if we can reach 1,500 signatures then we can take the case to cabinet. It’s really exciting, we’ve also found out the next round of Government Levelling Up funding opens in a few weeks and we are hoping to be considered.”

“We also met with the Essex Foundation who have brought our case to the board to see if they can get emergency funding to fill a gap for us.

“A representative from the National Lottery Community Fund met with us and said we have a really strong case for capital funding. However it takes six to eight months for that to go through.”