‘Under-used’ Stowford Community Centre licence joy

SIDMOUTH’S �1million Stowford Community Centre is being “under-used” by the people it was built to serve, say leaders who hope a licence boost will change its fortunes.

The state-of-the-art venue, built for Sid Valley residents after a 20-year wait, was opened in September but many members of the public ‘still don’t know it exists’, said a pair of its directors.

Vice chairman Jan Jones and town councillor Peter Sullivan this week hailed the hub being granted a full entertainment licence – allowing aspects like music and alcohol - as “a positive move forward”.

The centre can now host festivities ranging from dances, receptions and stage shows to exhibitions, film screening and indoor sports.

The hub, which is already home to activities like yoga and tae kwon do and has a caf�, is self-sufficient and any profit it makes must be invested back into the venue.

Mrs Jones said more community involvement was “key to the future” of the venue.

She added: “This is a beautiful centre, it has so much to offer. We want more involvement from the community – it’s their centre. I don’t even think everyone in Stowford knows we’re here. We hope the licence will make a big difference.”

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Councillor Sullivan added: “It is under-used by the community at the moment. I think people don’t know what we’re here for.

“Commercially it’s going quite well, but we’d like to have more input from the local community and to know what they would like us to provide here.

“This is a brand new facility that has to pay its own way.”

Greg Bess, who runs the kitchen and catering operation at the centre, said: “People aren’t being drawn in because they don’t know the potential of the place.”

For more information on the centre call 01395 576803.