Crisis meeting as community centre faces threat of closure

Old Boat Community Centre is next to Carden Park in Hollingbury
Old Boat Community Centre is next to Carden Park in Hollingbury

A community centre that is home to a hugely-popular playgroup could close.

A community centre that is home to a hugely-popular playgroup could close.

The Old Boat Community Centre, which is next to Carden Park in Hollingbury, is a well-used public facility and provides a range of activities, including the much- loved Carden Tots - a drop-in group for parents and young children.

Carden Tots is run by a charity, Together Group, and sessions cost just £1.50 - making it an affordable option for mums and dads in the local area.

Parents, however, have been warned the community centre could close unless more support is forthcoming, and that could mean the end for Carden Tots and the raft of other services on offer at the Old Boat.

The volunteer committee which runs the centre has organised a meeting tonight (Monday) at Old Boat, starting at 7.30pm, and are hopeful as many people as possible will attend and show their support.

Toni Lloyd, who runs the centre’s café, said there was a "real threat” of closure and that the committee was looking for people to bring some fresh ideas to the centre or volunteer to help out in whatever way they can in order to maintain Old Boat’s financial stability.

The alternative, she said, could be closure for both the community centre and its social club and that, she argued, would be nothing short of a disaster for the local area.

Ms Lloyd said: “The centre is a meeting place for people of all ages and from all walks of life. It is really important to the local community and losing it would have a huge impact on people.

“It is a brilliant place and it would be really sad to lose it.” As well as Carden Tots, Old Boat houses sessions in short mat bowls, kickboxing, a play group for dads or granddads and their children, pilates, a youth club, a choir and an active at 60 class.

For more information on the community centre, visit: www. obccc.co.uk or search Facebook for Old Boat Corner Community Centre and Social Club.

A message on the centre’s Facebook site said: “Please come along to the meeting, share your ideas, offer your voluntary support and help keep this local treasure open.”