Petition launched to save Maltlands centre

A PETITION has been launched to keep a community centre on a housing estate in Weston open.

A PETITION has been launched to keep a community centre on a housing estate in Weston open.

Labour prospective parliamentary candidate David Bradley has been door-stepping residents to gain their support for Maltlands Community Centre.

The facility is under threat of closure due to a lack of funds.

Mr Bradley said: "In the next few months I hope all those with an interest in the survival of the community centre will come together and help campaign for its preservation as an essential resource for groups and individuals in the area." Brownies, guides and women's groups all use the centre.

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Last year, Reverend Robert Channon offered to sell a church in Weston to help fund a development similar to the For All Healthy Living Centre, in Lonsdale Avenue, which has a built-in place of worship.

However, congregation members voted just before Christmas for Church Road Methodist Church, in Upper Church Road, to remain open.

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Previously, a delegation led by Rev Channon, a member of the centre's management committee, asked North Somerset Council leader Councillor Nigel Ashton for £10,000 for running costs to pay utilities bills.

The plea was met with a request for more information about the centre's finances, which has yet to be submitted according to Cllr Ian Peddlesden, the executive member for adult social services and housing.

He said: "They have not given audited accounts for the last two years and we need to know how it has been spending money."

Cllr Peddlesden said there is £50,000 available to the committee if it can identify funding for a new building.

However, centre manager Sarah Pearce has been repeatedly unsuccessful in her attempts to secure lottery money for the project.

She says the centre's best hope is for the council to release £50,000 it holds in developers' contributions to go towards new temporary housing.

The management committee has reduced her hours by half to 10 per week in an effort to save money, but Cllr Peddlesden says she is a 'luxury the centre cannot afford' and it should be run by volunteers as is the case in other areas of the district.

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