Mixed fortunes for community centres

Ray Rye, chairman of Whaplode St Catherine Memorial Hall's management committee whose members voted to close the 70-year-old facility.
Ray Rye, chairman of Whaplode St Catherine Memorial Hall's management committee whose members voted to close the 70-year-old facility.
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There is good and bad news for three villages in South Holland that can now prepare themselves for boosts and a blow in equal measure.

Improvements totalling more than £30,000 are set to take place at the Fraiser Room, Surfleet, and the Elizabethan Centre, Whaplode Drove, after a huge fundraising effort in both villages.

But the outlook is bleaker in Whaplode St Catherine where its Memorial Hall is to close for good at the end of June.

The spiralling cost of repairs and a lack of usage are the reasons for closure, according to the hall’s management committee after a meeting to decide its fate last Wednesday.

Chairman Ray Rye said: “We went through what the hall takes in and what is paid out and found that it doesn’t tally up.

“So it was voted on to close the hall at the end of June and any money left over after paying the final bills will be handed over to the village.

“It’s very sad but in the committee’s opinion, there is no way that the hall can be run properly any longer.”

Meanwhile in Whaplode Drove, members of its Playing Field Association (PFA) can look forward to repairs to the roof of the Elizabethan Centre after a community fundraising effort.

Badminton, bowls and social club members, Whaplode Parish Council, South Holland District Council members Malcolm Chandler and Bob Creese, a country fayre and charity half-marathon have all helped in reaching the £16,000 target.

Stephen Stapenhill-Hunt, of Whaplode PFA, said: “Over 800 families use the centre and all of the main contributors have put in a great effort to ensure the roof can be made watertight and safe.

“Without the help of lots of people, the centre’s future would have been at risk.”

A £5,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund and donations from the designated funds of district councillors James Avery, Sally-Ann Slade and Elizabeth Sneath mean refurbishment of the Fraiser Room’s kitchen can go ahead.

Trustee Douglas Drakard said: “We tried to refurbish it in 2006-07 but couldn’t afford it.

“When it’s done, we’ll have a facility that’s second to none in the village.”