Association celebrates its final year in Portchester centre

Portchester Community Association celebrating their 50th birthday
Portchester Community Association celebrating their 50th birthday
Sir Vince Cable is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats

Sir Vince Cable is new Liberal Democrats leader

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THERE were mixed emotions at a celebration of Portchester Community Association’s 50th birthday.

The group held a party to mark the occasion at the soon-to-be-demolished Portchester Community Centre.

It will be the last time that the association will be together in the building as it will be dismantled when the new community centre opens opposite it in January.

Portchester Community Association put in a bid to take over the running of the new centre but lost out to Portchester Community School.

Community centre manager Sarah Moss said: ‘People are very cross about what has happened. It’s very sad to see the centre go.’

Despite losing out on the new centre, Portchester Community Association has vowed to carry on.

Norman Wilkins, 72, worked for Hampshire County Council for 44 years based from the centre.

He used to run its famous Holiday Playtime sessions.

Mr Wilkins said: ‘What people have to realise is the community association is not a building. It’s an association of people, which will continue after it closes.’

Nick Hall, chairman of Portchester Community Association, said: ‘We won’t be here this time next year.

‘Today was about inviting people along to meet up and to make a point that the association will still continue.’

Some of the groups that the association looks after have found alternative premises, some will transfer over to the new centre and others are looking for locations or could possibly stop altogether.

Mik Norman, 65, volunteer, said: ‘It’s nice to celebrate 50 years of commitment to the community.

‘However, some groups will not be able to afford to continue at the new centre.

‘It’s distressing that the bulk of experience will not be transferred over. I think that the council is neglecting what the centre needs.’

Stella Bell, 79, volunteer, said: ‘We have just got to accept what’s happened to us. I blame the task and finish panel. This should never have been allowed to happen.’