LETTER: HAODS’ future must be assured

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Please hear my plea on a subject that is close to my heart, concerning the relocation of the Horsham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society commonly known as HAODS.

This society, of which I have been a member since late 2011, have been providing fantastic quality performances for the Horsham masses for over 60 years, not to mention an incredible community within, which is close knit, supportive and yet open to all.

I am no longer a local having moved to London to pursue my dream of being a working actor and singer - which is going well, I have an agent and have just been accepted into BAE (British Actors Equity union) as an industry professional.

There is strong interest in my services from both sides of ‘the pond’ and had HAODS not been there - to educate, guide and support me - I most certainly would not have had the confidence to perform publicly at all, much less have just completed a one-man singing tour.

HAODS are to lose their ‘home’ (rehearsal space) within the Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre in the not too distant future and the council’s best offer to date is for shared usage of the Drill Hall, which would possibly be workable despite a lack of storage space if it were to be solely for HAODS’ use, but that is not what is being offered-with the ‘Young HAODS’ being well attended, the rehearsals which at times need to cater for more than one production simultaneously and the various community activities HAODS encourages and supports this is just not adequate.

What really needs to happen is what should have happened from day one of the proposal for a new leisure centre - namely HAODS being consulted as to what their needs are for space and access and either their definite, assured inclusion within the new leisure centre or a genuinely workable alternative being offered which would actually serve the purpose rather than a convenient offering so the council could say they ‘tried’.

This may perhaps sound harsh but do your research, look at what HAODS has done for the Horsham community over the years and then (if you can honestly do so) tell me it’s not worth saving?

http://haods.co.uk

SIMON BERRY

Netherheys Drive, South Croydon, London