New era for Hayling Island Community Centre as much-loved manager set to step down from role

AFTER 18 years of dedication and fundraising, a community centre manager is stepping back from her role.

Monday, 9th March 2020, 4:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th March 2020, 5:11 pm
9/3/20 The manager of Hayling Island Community Centre, Tania Jones is leaving after 18 years of service. Pictured: Tania Jones. Picture: Habibur Rahman

On Valentine’s Day in 2002, Tania Jones took over the reins at Hayling Island Community Centre and has not looked back since.

‘It's just such a lovely place to work. It's more than a job, it's part of our life,’ said Tania, 52, who will leave in early April.

Tania didn’t know anyone when she moved to Hayling, so the community centre in Station Road was the first place she came to make friends at a toddler group.

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The manager of Hayling Island Community Centre, Tania Jones is leaving after 18 years of service. Pictured: Tania Jones (bottom left) with staff of Hayling Island Community Centre, Brian Stanfield, Fiona Francis, Jess Gillam, Robin Goodliffe, Mandy Stanfield and Tina Lambert Picture: Habibur Rahman

Over the years, Tania has led the thriving centre from strength to strength including a successful ‘buy a brick’ fundraising campaign to build an annex for more space.

Mum-of-two Tania used to work as a carer before taking on the flexible role as centre manager, where her successor Iona Harkness is set to take over.

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‘It's the right time to move on but I'm really excited for the future of the centre because we have found the perfect person to take over,’ said Tania, who hopes to spend more time with her four foster children.

‘I want to try some new things and it's time for a change here, somebody with different ideas who is excited and passionate about taking the community centre forward.’

Colleagues and volunteers at the centre are sad to see Tania go after all her hard work, although she has vowed to continue helping.

Tina Lambert, who joined nine months before Tania took over, said: ‘She's the face of the community and all our users know that. Her husband Steve volunteers with the football so as a couple they're known to be so community minded.

‘[Her replacement] had to be right because people don't want Tania to go - it's incredible how many people Iona knows, she's just fitted in hugely.’

Staff put together a surprise 18th anniversary lunch on Valentine’s Day to celebrate Tania’s time with the centre.

Tania said: ‘I'm so lucky to have found this job all those years ago, I can honestly say I have enjoyed coming to work every day. When I look back on my life I will be grateful for that.’