Sadness as award-winning club for people with special needs in Hartlepool prepares to shut down

Allison and Kevin McLean of Kev's Klub.
Allison and Kevin McLean of Kev's Klub.

An award-winning Hartlepool club is closing its doors after more than a decade.

Kev’s Klub, which is a meeting place for adults with special needs, will be closing at the end of November, due to a lack of users.

The Pride of Hartlepool Awards 2014, held at Hardwick Hall. Allison and Kevin McLean of Kev's Klub won the Community Group award.

The Pride of Hartlepool Awards 2014, held at Hardwick Hall. Allison and Kevin McLean of Kev's Klub won the Community Group award.

The club was set up by husband and wife duo, Kevin and Allison McLean, in 2005 and won a Hartlepool Mail Community Award in 2014.

But, a drop in users, combined with Allison’s ill health, have forced the pair to make the sad decision to shut the club, based in Newholm Community Centre.

Allison, 48, said: “We are absolutely gutted to be honest, we have been monitoring the situation for the past six months and have tried everything to keep the numbers up, but people are just not using it.

“We have about 10 dedicated members who come every single week and we really feel for them the most, but we just can’t sustain it for ten people.

We have never regretted a single night. It has been brilliant

Allison McLean

“It is very sad, but I think it has really just come to a natural end, like many of these things do.”

Care workers Kev and Allison, who have six children between them and eight grand-children, started the club because they realised there was a need for both the adults with special needs and their carers to have somewhere to go and enjoy themselves.

And, over the years they have had a great time.

Allison said: “We have never regretted a single night, it has been brilliant.

“We have some fantastic memories. We have had some great day trips and nights out to places, such as the theatre, and I hope people have loved it.

“Over the years we have had great support from loads of businesses in the town, too many to mention, and are really grateful for that.

“It is just the right time to close. The amount of work involved and the cost to open is not covering the operating cost each week.”

But, Kevin, Allison and the members are determined to go out in style with a big Christmas party.

Allison said: “All members and their carers have been invited to Kev’s Klub Christmas Meal at the Jacksons Wharf in December, to celebrate the life and end of the club and as a big thank you for their support over the last 12 years.”

The pair have decided that any surplus funds left over once the club has closed will be donated between Miles for Men and Keep Smiling for Becky.

And, Be Crafty/Building Communities Together is to benefit from all of Kev’s Klub’s activity equipment, including sensory toys to musical instruments.