Lots planned for Sidmouth community centre’s future

Jan Jones outside Stowford Rise Community Hall. Ref shs 43 18TI 3160. Picture: Terry Ife

Jan Jones outside Stowford Rise Community Hall. Ref shs 43 18TI 3160. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

There are plenty of things to look forward to, with big plans in the works, at a Sidmouth community centre.

Councillors praised the work of the former chairman of directors Jan Jones who has retired after nine years of running the Chambers Close centre.

Dynamic duo Bob and Christine Weeks have now taken the reins at Stowford Community Centre and have lots planned.

During a Sidmouth Town Council meeting, Councillor Dawn Manley said: “We would like to say a big and sincere ‘thank you’ to Jan Jones - supergran and great-granny - who has run the centre for the last nine years, virtually single-handedly. She has worked incredibly hard and there wouldn’t be a wonderful thriving community centre to take over had Jan not been there.

“I’m really pleased that we have a dynamic couple to come in and take over and I wish them the best of success.”

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Speaking on February 4, Councillor David Barratt said he had a meeting with the new directors, who began at the start of the year.

He added: “I felt a real new level of enthusiasm and expertise from the new directors. Bob Weeks and his wife Christine seem to be very switched on and have new ideas.

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“They have a real feel for IT which I feel will be very useful moving forward.”

Cllr Barrett said the pair had potential plans to move the radio studio to the venue and ideas for an improved website and electric vehicle charging points.

He added: “It seems they will probably have a lot of new contacts coming in around the community centre which can only generate more interest. The community centre is doing well anyway, but they are looking to increase usage at the weekend.”

Cllr Barratt said they would be having meetings quarterly and he hoped to keep the town council updated on the centre.

Cllr Ian Mckenzie-Edwards commended Jan Jones for all her hard work over the years and thanked her for all she had done.

It all followed the resignation of three of the four directors in December from the Community Interest Company (CIC) which runs the centre.

Bob and Christine Weeks have been appointed as the two new directors to sit alongside the remaining director, Cllr Stuart Hughes.

There are plans to appoint further directors and volunteers have come forward to help with the running of the building.

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