Portchester association will keep going - even without a home

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PORTCHESTER Community Association has vowed to keep going for the groups it supports after losing out on its bid to run a new community centre.

The PCA has about 1,000 members spread across 11 sections on its books, but their future was thrown into doubt when the lease to run the new Portchester Community Centre was offered to Portchester Community School instead.

The new £2m centre at Westlands Grove is expected to be completed in the next few weeks, replacing a 50-year-old centre that is no longer fit for purpose.

Sarah Moss, the PCA’s manager, said: ‘The trustees and staff of the PCA have determined a way forward, without reliance on the new community centre as its base.

‘The association will continue to deliver activities and services within the community, working with Portchester Community School.’

Among those sections looking for a new home are the Andy Pandy Pre-school, badminton, an IT group and indoor bowls.

Mrs Moss added: ‘All the sections are still with us, but it’s whether they go into the new centre, we can find them somewhere else, or they have to close.

‘However, it is acknowledged that a number of PCA sections are unable to afford the new rates offered by the school. PCA are in negotiations with the school to attain affordable rates, move to alternative venues or close.

‘Apart from cost, the biggest issue is storage.

‘The school can’t commit on what space will be available to our groups until they get in the building, so it is difficult for them at the moment as well.

‘It is a difficult time.’

After the end of the year, the PCA will keep on two full-time-equivalent staff. They have not yet found a place to work from.

The decision by Fareham Borough Council to offer the lease to the school proved controversial as many locals backed the PCA, which had run the centre for the past five decades.

The PCA can take room bookings until Sunday, December 16.

After that date, enquiries should be directed to Portchester Community School on (023) 9236 4399.