Fareham Community centre saved from closing down

TAKING OVER Mayor of Fareham, Cllr Susan Bayford, hands over the keys to the building to Geoff Eales, chairman of the Lockswood Community and Sports Association. Back, from left, Ray Randall, Peter Coates Dee Readhead and Jacqueline Palmer

TAKING OVER Mayor of Fareham, Cllr Susan Bayford, hands over the keys to the building to Geoff Eales, chairman of the Lockswood Community and Sports Association. Back, from left, Ray Randall, Peter Coates Dee Readhead and Jacqueline Palmer

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A GROUP of people affectionately nicknamed ‘the Lockswood super six’ have taken over running their beloved community centre after saving it from closure.

The Lockswood Community Centre in Locks Heath, faced being shut down in March 2012 when Brookfield School stopped running it.

Fareham Borough Council temporarily took it on but when the council said it could no longer afford to keep it running, a team of community centre users clubbed together to save the centre.

The six – Geoff Eales, Ray Randall, Peter Coates, Jacqueline Palmer, Dee Readhead and David Grindey – set up a community association, run as a charity, which will take over all aspects of running the centre.

They officially took delivery of the keys this week.

Geoff said: ‘It has been over a year since we started this idea. We officially became a charity in February.

‘We have had problems but each problem we have managed to overcome. For example, we had a flood earlier this year from a drain pipe which stopped the electric doors working, but we overcame it and are here today.

‘It is a challenge but one that is well worth it.’

Jacqueline said: ‘We have been here for 25 years so we were anxious to keep it open.

‘It is a real landmark and an asset to the whole community. We are now working towards getting a dance studio installed. We are trying to raise the money and have had quite a lot of interest in that idea already.’

Dee said: ‘I started here when it was being built and I’m still here. It is something I believe in and it is good for the community.’

Mayor of Fareham, Cllr Susan Bayford, handed over the keys to the group.

She said: ‘It is very important to the community. It is in my ward and I came along to many of the meetings to save the centre. I have watched them grow into a group of people committed and dedicated to this centre. I am full of admiration for them.’

For more information on the club, call (01489) 582512.

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