Fears over Sidmouth community centre’s future quelled

Stowford Community Centre. Ref shs 10-16TI 2583. Picture: Terry Ife

Stowford Community Centre. Ref shs 10-16TI 2583. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Fears over the future of a Sidmouth community centre have been quashed.

Rumours arose that the Stowford Community Centre could be put in jeopardy, following the retirement of three of its directors which are due to step down in December, 2018.

But directors have said this is not the case and that the centre is thriving.

However, anyone wanting to be a central figure in the running of community hub, allowing it to continue growing from strength to strength has been asked to throw their name in the hat.

The state-of-the-art venue cost £1million to build and was opened in September 2011, after a 20-year wait by Sid Valley residents.

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Jan Jones, who is retiring after nine years as a chairman and director, said: “It is really well used and it is a beautiful building. I would love for people to come forward and continue the good work to keep this going for the benefit of the whole community. I am looking for people who will love the centre, loves meeting new people and enjoys it as much as I have. People go on about having a community place and we have a centre right here. They speak about the Drill Hall and wanting a community centre but we have one already - a beautiful one.

“We have had dances, have a fully fitted kitchen and space for community groups.”

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Christopher Holland, Sidmouth Town Council’s clerk, said: “We have heard from lots of people that want to get involved in the running of halls and supporting community activities. Here is a brand new community centre - a fantastic facility that needs some new blood to take it forward. Here is the opportunity for them to get involved.”

The centre is Community Interest Company but the building is owned by Sidmouth Town Council.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, who is one of the four current directors, said: “There is no danger of the centre closing down.”

He added the town council was a completely different entity to the centre but it they couldn’t find anyone to replace the three outgoing directors he would still be there and if worse came to worse it would revert back to the town council - but he did not think that would happen.

If you are interested in volunteering email Jan on stowfordcommunity@btconnect.com or call 07788 277052.

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