Hartlepool jujitsu club feared closure after being forced to leave base

The jujitsu, karate and taekwondo clubs are now all under the same roof at Hartlepool Wadokai Karate Club.
The jujitsu, karate and taekwondo clubs are now all under the same roof at Hartlepool Wadokai Karate Club.
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The head of a Hartlepool jujitsu club has told how he feared it would have to close after being forced to leave its long-term base.

Hartlepool Jujitsu Club had been at Eskdale Academy, in Eskdale Road, for six years.

At first, I thought it was the end of the jujitsu club

Dominic O’Donovan

However, the club recently received a letter providing it with 28 days notice to leave the premises, as did all of the other clubs and organisations which used the facility out of school hours.

The jujitsu club is now based at Hartlepool Wadokai Karate Club, in Whitby Street South, as is a taekwondo club which also had to leave Eskdale.

The clubs were invited there by Carl Jorgeson, who runs the karate set-up.

Dominic O’Donovan, the head coach of Hartlepool Jujitsu Club, said: “We were settled at Eskdale.

“I was very surprised when we were told we’d have to leave, and at first, I thought it was the end of the jujitsu club. It might have been had it not been for Carl.

“It was very disappointing. We had been there for a long time, and it was a good base for us. People just used to walk across from Owton Manor. They have to travel further now, as this is about two miles away.

“Luckily, most people have managed to get to the new base, but it’s not ideal. We’re just going to have to grin and bear it, and we couldn’t be more thankful to Carl for allowing us to continue.”

Neil Nottingham, executive head at Eskdale Academy – a recipient of National Lottery funding – said: “Unfortunately, the number of groups using the building for evening and weekend activities had been declining and it was no longer financially viable for us to open the site out-of-hours.

“We had to pay someone to open and close the building, as well as heating costs, and as there was often only one group using the site at any one time, this was not sustainable.

“We offered the clubs affected the alternative option of using Stranton Primary School, which is used by many more groups, for the same price and at the same time they had been using Eskdale Academy.

“I have spoken to the National Lottery and explained our difficult position to them and we are working together to explore possible options for the academy to be able to host some community activities within a viable financial framework.”