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More volunteers needed for Walshes Community Hall
SEVERAL organisations are now showing interest in using a once-doomed Stourport community hall after its short-term future was secured.
The Walshes Community Hall Action Group has been working for more than a year with Vestia, the community arm of Wyre Forest Community Housing (WFCH) to prove the building, at the corner of Hermitage Way and Linden Avenue, is usable and financially viable.
They have now signed an in-principle agreement with WFCH to keep the hall in use for the next five years. WFCH will take responsibility for infrastructure with volunteers for the action group running the hall.
In-principle means there are still some smaller details to be ironed out as negotiations continue.
Action group member Jamie Shaw said organisers had received several expressions of interest from groups keen to use the hall, including Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group, which could set up a weekly advice and drop-in service for residents.
Mr Shaw, also a Labour Stourport town and Wyre Forest district councillor, said: “It is good news but we are right at the beginning of a very complicated process and it is not only about securing the future of the hall it is then all the work that has got to be done to keep things going.”
He added: “The key thing is we have had and continue to have a strong input from Vestia, whose officer Justin Bryant has done a lot of work.
“It is key that community housing has agreed a set of proposals with us. For the action group, who will become the management committee, it is the beginning of a long period to increase use and improve the facility so it has a level of financial viability.”
Groups already using the hall, which had previously started to become run-down, include a friendship group for elderly people, a bingo group, Walshes Youth Club, St Bartholomew’s Church, which holds a coffee morning each week and musicians who use the facility to practise at weekends.
In November last year, the building was revamped to help breath new life into it and the agreement is the next step in the project to secure the hall a long-term future after WFCH announced in 2011 it would be unable to continue to run the facility alone.
Mr Shaw said, however, as the process moved along, the group would require more volunteers from the Walshes community. He said anyone interested in helping run the hall should call the action group’s chairman, Rob Lloyd, on 01299 871778.
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