Art group faces losing its home if centre closes down

West Hill Community Centre
West Hill Community Centre

AN ART group faces losing its home amid the threatened closure of a community centre in the Old Town.

West Hill Art Group has met at West Hill Community Centre in Croft Road for more than 15 years.

Last week the Observer highlighted West Hill and District Community Association’s call for people to get involved in the centre’s running, warning it will shut by the end of December if no volunteers come forward.

The group’s tutor, Sarah Flack, said: “The centre is so important to the art group because of its large spacious room with good natural light, which is so important for art work. It helps provide affordable art classes in the community for those who cannot afford mainstream leisure classes; the reasonable hall hire allows for this.”

Anne Petter, another member of the group, which meets every Monday, said: “I come to the group for some respite from my problems at home. Last year my husband had a heart attack and almost died. Without the support from the group I don’t know how I would have felt. I need the West Hill Community Centre so that I can meet up with friends and have a day off.”

Jean and Tony Bantock also use the class.

Jean said: “This is not just a good art class but it is a part of our social and creative life. If the centre closes our lives would be so much less without it.”

Another user, Diane Knell, said: “The facilities bring together a group of people who can develop skills and share interests. It is an important resource and its loss would be a major set-back for all the people who use it.”

Last week, Dave Hobden, treasurer of West Hill and District Community Association, who has run the Croft Road centre almost single-handedly for more than 10 years, said that hands-on committee members are what is needed to maintain its existence.

The centre opened in 1974, and was originally in use almost every day. However after 40 years, its popularity has dwindled, and the committee now only has five members.

The future of the centre will be determined at the association’s Annual General Meeting at the community centre on March 18 at 7pm. Anyone who would like to become involved in the centre’s running should email Edwin Rew, association chairman, at or call 01424 420053.