LETTER: Club lives to fight another day

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Thank you for your coverage of Hastings Week’s events to date and no doubt we have many more exciting activities to look forward to in this 950th anniversary year.

One really ‘good news story’ is the fact that the Hastings Gateway Club (for young adults with learning difficulties) was able to hold its annual Hastings Week Quiz after all. Your readers may recall that having celebrated their 50th anniversary the club was in effect, served with an eviction notice from their home in the purpose-built Conquest Centre in St Leonards by East Sussex County Council.

The county’s appalling decision to axe the fully-used facility could have spelt the end of the road for the Gateway Club which had provided a stimulating and enjoyable environment for such a vulnerable group for so many years.

However, proving that miracles can happen, the Parchment Trust Charity (founded in 1993 ) which cares for those with both learning and physical disabilities, offered Gateway the use of their building in Theaklen Drive on the Ponswood Estate as an albeit temporary solution for their Thursday evening club.

So it was that last Thursday, against all the odds, I was able to host the 20th Annual Hastings Week Gateway Quiz with around 50 members attending in the new venue.

Although remaining utterly dismayed at the decision of a seemingly uncaring county council, Gateway’s faith in human nature has been somewhat restored through the immense kindness shown by the Parchment Trust. They deserve a huge vote of thanks for giving Gateway a lifeline.

It would appear sadly, that many services previously provided by East Sussex County Council on our behalf are gradually being abandoned with tragic consequences in some cases for the most vulnerable in our community.

Mercifully the Gateway Club lives to fight another day.

Richard Stevens

President, Hastings Gateway Club

All Saints Street


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