A COMMUNITY group is demanding answers from the trustees of Swindon’s Restore after it was announced its sudden closure was due to it being no longer financially viable.

The organisation, run by Swindon Christian Community Projects , was set up six years ago as a social enterprise to bring volunteers together to run a profitable project consisting of a shop, a café, a garden project and a woodworking project.

But now, the chairman of trustees has confirmed that, following an in-depth strategic review in July, which saw the organisation abruptly close its doors, Restore was found to be financially unsustainable.

Bob Hayward, from SCCP said: “Over the last six years many different people have come together and through their commitment and dedication achieved many good things at Restore. “We’re sad to see the closure of the project.

“While a sustainable way forward could not be found, we can all be proud of the many great things that have been achieved.

“It is a testimony to those who have been involved with Restore that it will be missed.

“The trustees spoke to many people as we could who were involved and looked at all the records of the past six years of what we had and hadn’t achieved and drew the conclusion that to run the social enterprise was no longer sustainable.

“It was never meant to be run as a charity and throughout its life, unfortunately, Restore would never have survived if it wasn’t for some grants we received but the point of the social enterprise was for it to stand on its own two feet.

“I know people are upset but I will do my very best to answer any questions people have.”

Bob said a lack of volunteers and staff available to run the Party In The Parks event was the reason behind its sudden cancellation at the start of August.

Restore had been operating from St John’s Church Hall, in Whitborne Avenue but, following its closure, it is hoped that its services such as the café will be taken by up other charities.

The woodworking project started at Restore, now called The Shed, will continue.

This will initially operate from the St John’s Church Hall and will move to new premises in the future once suitable premises have been found.

SCCP has pledged to continue operating Swindon Foodbank from seven food centres across the town.

But, despite Bob’s heartfelt apologies, concerned residents voiced their concerns at a meeting of the Parks And East Walcot Community Forum last week.

As a result, David Wicks, the secretary of the group, wrote to the trustees demanding answers.

He said: “The first thing to be said is that Restore’s closure and its impact on the local community has created a great deal of anger.

“In particular the loss of the Foodbank collection, with no notice, and no explanation, has been keenly felt by people who have used it on Parks.

“The new arrangement for a collection point at St John’s was only made some weeks later. We would like to know how many Food Bank users were collecting their food from Restore in the weeks prior to its closure, since its numbers now appear to be very low.

“Considering the level of involvement of people in our area we feel that they deserve a more detailed explanation as to why the project collapsed. People are angry because no information has been provided for so long.”

Bob has agreed to meet residents to discuss the closure in more detail on a date to be arranged.