THE future of a community centre is set to be secured after a village organisation agreed to take on the lease.
The long-term prospects for Greatham Community Centre, which hosts a variety of clubs and classes, was in doubt after Hartlepool Borough Council decided not to renew its legal agreement on the building after 20 years.
But Greatham Community Association, which manages the day-to-day running of the centre, agreed to become the new leaseholders at its annual general meeting on Tuesday night.
Legal teams for the association and centre owners, the Hospital of God charity, will now thrash out the details before the lease is signed.
Taking on the lease means the community association will be responsible for its upkeep.
Brian Walker, treasurer for Greatham Community Association, said: “The meeting was really positive and we want to proceed with taking over the lease if it is all ok.
“There is a lot of work that needs doing on the building to bring it up to scratch.
“Our first priority is going to be to source grants to do that work.
“The centre is still very busy but we have some spare sessions and we are always looking to increase the number of things that are happening in the centre.”
The centre, in Front Street, is used throughout the week by senior citizens’ groups, sports clubs, exercise classes and mother and toddler groups.
The council decided not to renew the lease as part of its money-saving efforts but still provides two nights of youth services a week in the ward.
David Granath, director of the Hospital of God at Greatham, added: “We have been working with the council to get the building into a good condition and also working with the community association to draw up the lease so they can take things forward in the future.
“We are pleased and supportive and are doing everything we can to help them on their way.”