Already facing financial challenges, Sydney Pride Centre must now cope with smaller premises after the City of Sydney converted much of its Erskineville home into a neighbourhood centre in December.

The centre opened at Erskineville Town Hall in early December, reducing Pride’s share of the building from four rooms to a single office space, Pride co-president Sean Addison told Sydney Star Observer.

Addison said the Erskineville office -“ which Pride rented from the City of Sydney -“ was still available to community groups that needed meeting space.

However, Pride could no longer hire out the three other rooms it previously offered free or for a nominal fee.

It’s disappointing that we can’t continue to offer the space that we had for the cheaper rates that we were able to offer, Addison said.

But a City of Sydney spokesperson said the new neighbourhood service centre’s community hall was still available for hire.

The City has worked closely with the groups who previously booked the facility through Pride and in many cases has offered them reduced fees, the spokesperson said.

Addison said gay and lesbian groups currently used the Pride premises a couple of days a week -¦ [but] some of our other long-term users have gone.

Despite its smaller premises, Addison said Pride was looking fine for the current financial year following its series of losses in past years, including a $34,000 shortfall in 2004/ 2005.

The organisation did not hold its traditional New Year’s Eve fundraising party last month because of budget worries.

Instead, Pride has planned Friday night fundraisers at Arq every three months, with the next event scheduled for 20 January.

Pride will review its overall position at an annual general meeting at its Erskineville office on 18 February.

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