Gosport disability group ready to return to centre which burned down in 2012

From left, chairman 'Mick Hollis and committee members Muriel Smith, Sue Baker and Ken Baker inside the Gadsad hall''Picture: Allan Hutchings (150919-995)
From left, chairman 'Mick Hollis and committee members Muriel Smith, Sue Baker and Ken Baker inside the Gadsad hall''Picture: Allan Hutchings (150919-995)
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  • The Gadsad centre, in Gosport, is ready to re-open after it burned down in 2012
  • The new centre has got better facilities and should be open next month
  • Members of the disability group are relieved to be able to move in soon
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IT HAS been more than two years since members of a disability group saw their centre destroyed by a fire.

In November 2012, the Gosport and District Sport Association for the Disabled (Gadsad) base, off Elson Road, was ruined by the blaze.

The fire at Gadsad in November 2012   Picture: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

The fire at Gadsad in November 2012 Picture: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

But there is now a light at the end of the tunnel, as the revamped building should be ready to open next month.

It has been rebuilt with better facilities.

Gadsad chairman Mick Hollis said it was a boost to know the centre was nearly ready.

‘It has been a long wait and it is a huge relief knowing we can move in soon,’ he said.

There have been some setbacks along the way but there is a light at the end of the tunnel now.

Mick Hollis

‘There have been some setbacks along the way but there is a light at the end of the tunnel now.

‘The new building is a lot better with proper insulation and heating. We have a great kitchen and washroom in the disabled toilet.

‘We have been told it should be open by mid-July and we cannot wait.’

Mick was called to the fire, which was started by an electrical fault, and said he was devastated to see the building alight.

He added: ‘I remember standing outside the building at 1.30am. It was devastating to see.

‘Everyone at Gadsad had worked so hard to get the group where it was and then we were without a home.’

Club member Sue Baker said it was a sad sight.

‘It was devastating,’ she said.

‘It was hard to see but the new centre is a lot better and will meet our needs perfectly.’

Since the blaze, the group, which runs sport sessions for people with disabilities, has been using the 27th Gosport Scout hut.

But it has been limited as to how many activities it can put on.

Mick said: ‘It has been hard but we are thankful to the Scouts for letting us use their hut.

‘Hopefully, with the new centre, we can invite more groups in to use the main hall and facilities when we aren’t because at the moment we only use it two to three times a week.

‘It would be great to see it as a mini community centre and somewhere people can use for weekly meetings or social events.

‘In the future, we hope to have a projector as well so it can be used for conferences or things like that.’

For more information on Gadsad and to keep up to date with the new centre visit gadsad.moonfruit.com