Call to save floods lifeline Workington community centre
Last updated at 12:33, Friday, 31 August 2012
The future of a Workington community centre, which was a lifeline to victims of the 2009 floods, hangs in the balance unless more volunteers are found.
Doreen Murray, 71, is acting manager of Northside Community Centre and said it faced closure within the next 12 months.
Mrs Murray said she had been running the centre on her own for 18 months, after previous members of the centre’s committee stood down and more volunteers had failed to come forward.
Mrs Murray added that the lack of volunteers meant that the centre had been unable to encourage more activities to take place there.
The centre, on Trinity Drive, has enough money to keep it going for a year, she added.
Mrs Murray said: “If we don’t get more business into the centre then it will close.
“We need volunteers to come in and help out so we can put more events on here. It would be one or two hours at most.
“We bring in around £20,000 a year, which is just enough to keep our heads above water, but if something goes wrong with the building or something else we would have no money to pay for it.”
Mrs Murray has to open the centre for classes during the week and also weekends if someone hires the centre for a birthday party.
It currently holds around a class a day but Mrs Murray said that the building should be “bustling” with activity.
She added: “We had a great committee at the start but as people’s kids grew up they moved on. I’m the longest-standing member.
“The centre was also hit by the Government’s decision to stop sending out BTCV and A4e volunteers about 12 months ago. They used to help with a lot of activities here.
“If the centre is to survive and be secure for the future then we need more people from the community to come forward.”
The Northside community was cut off from Workington when the 2009 floods swept away the two bridges linking the estate and a third bridge was closed amid fears of collapse.
The centre was used as a food distribution point and a temporary GP surgery for residents, and it was hailed as “inspirational”.
Prince Charles and Sarah Brown, wife of then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, visited the centre in the aftermath of the floods.
The community centre was moved from Mitchell Avenue in 2006 because the old building was run down and it was demolished.
Social landlord Derwent & Solway gave the current building to Northside Community Centre Ltd but the limited company, which runs the centre and has charity status, had to raise £500,000 to refurbish it.
The issue will be discussed at an annual general meeting at the centre on Thursday at 7pm.
First published at 11:54, Friday, 31 August 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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