Centre could shut its doors by end of year

Committee members Edwin Rew, Ron Bennett, Chris Hobden and Dave Hobden
Committee members Edwin Rew, Ron Bennett, Chris Hobden and Dave Hobden

A COMMUNITY centre will close its doors for good at the end of the year unless new volunteers can be recruited.

West Hill and District Community Association, which manages the West Hill Community Centre, in Croft Road, is issuing a final call for people to get involved in its running before it is condemned to closure.

Dave Hobden, the association’s treasurer, who has run the centre almost single-handedly for more than 10 years, said that hands-on committee members are what is needed.

He said: “We need people who are prepared to take over the day-to-day management of the centre. At the moment I have no back-up. It has really tied me down.”

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

Edwin Rew, association chairman, said: “This has been on the cards for at least three or four years, but it will be sad if the place closes. We want to be fair to the existing users, but this is the last resort.”

The future of the centre will be determined at the association’s Annual General Meeting at the community centre on March 18 at 7pm.

If no volunteers come forward the committee will table a motion to close the centre at the end of December this year and wind up the association by March 2015, exactly 70 years after the association in its present form started.

The centre is located adjacent to Torfield School, a multi-use games area, a children’s open play area and an outdoor gym for adults. Mr Rew said committee members believe that with the right team of people involved, the centre could be a success. Community groups which may have outgrown their current space and would consider West Hill Community Centre as a possible new venue are also urged to get in touch.

Anyone who would like to become involved in the centre’s running should email Mr Rew at ecrhastings@aol.com or call 01424 420053 and leave a message.