New lease of life for centre

Dorothy Clark and Brian Walker from Greatham Community Association outside the community centre
Dorothy Clark and Brian Walker from Greatham Community Association outside the community centre
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THE future of a community centre looks set to be secured as managers get ready to take on the lease of the much-used building.

Greatham Community Association, which manages the village hall, and owners the Hospital of God charity have come to an agreement over a 25-year lease after months of behind the scenes talks.

The association hopes to be able to take full responsibility for the community hub in Front Street by the summer and then set about raising money for much-needed repairs.

But before then the association is proposing to go through a legal process called incorporation.

A meeting for members of the association to decide whether to go down that route has been arranged.

Brian Walker, treasurer of Greatham Community Association, said: “It has been a long journey, but we are getting there now.

“Everything should be sorted by the summer this year.

“Hopefully then we can start looking for grants and get some work done on the building to make it more fit for purpose.

“It is starting to look its age and needs some major work to restore it and bring it up to date.”

Incorporation would see Greatham Community Association change from a charity to an incorporated charity.

It would mean the association can sign the lease rather than a few named trustees and it would be able to enter into contracts with builders.

But the association says the complicated legal process would almost certainly result in an increase in auditing and accounting fees.

Members of the association are encouraged to vote on the issue by attending the meeting in the community centre on Monday, March 19.

At least 25 must be present to vote on the motion and the meeting starts at 6.30pm.

The lease was previously held by Hartlepool Borough Council.

Greatham Community Centre plays host to a wide range of community groups including mums and toddlers, exercise and keep fit classes.