Community is bowled over

Derek Hampton, ex chairman of Newbottle CA with Malcolm Pratt, Chairman of Philadelphia Cricket club.
Derek Hampton, ex chairman of Newbottle CA with Malcolm Pratt, Chairman of Philadelphia Cricket club.
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VOLUNTEERS left devastated after a popular community centre was forced to close have been thrown a lifeline.

For more than three decades, Newbottle and District Community Centre, had been used by people of all ages for a range of classes and events.

But after a building inspection declared it unsafe for use, the centre, which had up to 100 members, was shut for good last month.

Volunteers said that a disagreement over the repairs with the council has been ongoing for many years, but no resolution had ever been reached.

Members were distraught about the closure of the centre, which they say is a huge part of their lives.

After reading about their plight in the Echo, Philadelphia Cricket Club has stepped in to help.

Malcolm Pratt, chairman of Philadelphia Cricket Club, said: “We felt we could do something to help. We are only half-a-mile or so down the road.

“We have two good-size rooms, one in particular is fairly large and can accommodate 100 people no problem.”

Today, Derek Hampton, chairman of Newbottle and District Community Centre since 1997, said: “We were all so disappointed when the centre closed. It was a popular venue and well-used by the local community.

“It’s a really generous offer by the club and we want to thank them for it.

“We had two dog obedience groups, which had between 25 to 30 dogs each night, as well as social groups for elderly people.

“I’m sure that some of our former members will jump at the chance to use the club.”

The disagreement between the association and the council centred on the repairs and who was responsible for completing them.

Bosses at the local authority maintained that, after a review in 1997, the association was designated as self-supporting and offered lease terms, which included responsibility for maintenance and repair works.

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