Community centre’s future is still in limbo

West Hill Community Centre
West Hill Community Centre

A community centre could close at the end of this year unless a new committee is formed.

West Hill Community Centre, in Croft Road, still has an uncertain future, almost six months on after appealing for new volunteers.

In March West Hill and District Community Association (WHSCA), which manages the facility, issued the final call for people to get involved in its running otherwise it would be condemned to closure. Following the appeal, more than 10 people stepped forward to offer their free time but the future of the lease remains in doubt.

The association had previously approached East Sussex County Council (ESCC) saying it wished to surrender the lease within the next year as it was struggling to get hands-on committee members to help run the centre. The land where the centre is based on is owned by ESCC. There is a break clause in the lease agreement saying the authority can take back the land if it is needed by Torfield School.

Mary Phillips, secretary of WHDCA, said: “In March a number of residents came forward to support us in maintaining the continued opening of the centre. Because there has been uncertainty about other organisations taking it over, it has not been possible to mobilise these willing volunteers yet. So, a meeting is to be held on September 18 at 7.30pm at the centre to elect officers to the committee to maintain its running. If a committee is not formed, the centre will close in December. We urge residents who have already offered to help to now become proactive so that we can form a plan of action to keep the centre open for the community for years to come.”

Karen Bowles, ESCC spokeswoman, said: “The association advised us that it was agreed at its last AGM to vacate the building at the end of March 2015 due to difficulties in recruiting trustees. We have been supporting Hastings Voluntary Action and the association in their attempts to retain the facility for community use, although no proposal has been put forward yet.”