Community centre moves to allay fears over its future
Trustee John Gibbs said: "The trustees of Longwell Green Community Centre wish to reassure the local community and quash the circulating rumours that the popular and well-used centre is about to close its doors.
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"The existing trustees who share responsibility, financial risk and liability of the centre have worked extremely hard over the last 12 months, carrying out a full due diligence of the way that the centre has been run whilst keeping control on the outgoing costs. It's been pleasing to see that income has been boosted due to the increased use of the centre."
Longwell Green Community Centre is a registered charity administered on behalf of members by three trustees who are responsible for managing and developing the centre.
It opened in the 1940s for the benefit of people living in Longwell Green and today hosts a variety of activities and clubs including skittles, pre-school, dance and drama sessions, badminton, ballroom dancing, slimming classes, probus clubs, bingo and quiz nights. The centre is also home to Longwell Green Sports Football Club.
Last May the centre launched a 'Give Back to the Green' initiative calling on residents, traders, building suppliers and organisations to get onboard to help revamp the building.
Chairman of the trustees, Chris Wyrill, said: "Over the last 12 months the centre has been run better than it’s been for a long time under the control of Alison Jordan, centre manager, and Scott Janes, bar manager. Both have given many hours of voluntary time on top of their normal hours to see many improvements and increased usage, which has been appreciated by the many locals who come to use the club.
"However, both will be leaving, moving on to bigger and better career opportunities. The trustees have tried hard to keep them but they will be leaving in the very near future. We cannot stand still and are working hard to replace them so that we can keep on moving forward."
Trustee Neale Saunders said: "The centre has no debt and pays its way within its budget, but this leaves no money for maintaining the large building which has been added on to many times over the years since it was first built in 1949, of which its heating and electric can be costly and are not very efficient.
"The centre and all the sports fields/open areas receive no funding from the council or authorities. It is self-funding and only survives with the help of the volunteers that give up many hours to keep the centre going.
"We are looking at all of the commercial opportunities to make sure that the centre, which is well used by many children and adults of all ages, will be here for the next 70 years to serve all of the families in this growing and expanding area, in the same way it has for the last 69 years going back to when Longwell Green was just a village."
Mr Gibbs, who is also chairman of Longwell Green Sports FC seniors, said: "In short - we will not be closing the doors. So if anyone wants to come and help us with whatever time or skills they have, they should come on down, they will find that the doors are open, not closed."