Community centre foyer work to go ahead

S21562H14 Chairman Bob Ryder outside Southwick Community Centre
S21562H14 Chairman Bob Ryder outside Southwick Community Centre

MUCH of the work needed to modernise the entrance of Southwick Community Centre will be going ahead this summer after all, it has been announced.

The agreement follows recent discussions the trustees of Southwick Community Association have had with Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin and chief executive Alex Bailey.

Progress on the scheme was announced at the association’s annual meeting on Monday.

Chairman Bob Ryder explained all the plans had to be put on hold as the result of a planning committee decision back in April. Although there had been no agreement on a canopy for the entrance, the improvements inside the building will now go ahead.

Secretary Dave Comber said its was a welcome development.

“It means that we shall be able to carry out the bulk of the works to the old foyer over the summer, when we can minimise disruption to users of the community centre.”

The canopy was still a bone of contention but the association was hopeful ‘a sensible way forward’ could be agreed.

Mr Comber added: “We still hope to create an attractive new main entrance to the buildings in the coming year.”

John Mitchell, director of communities, attended the AGM on behalf of the council and spoke enthusiastically about his new role, supporting community organisations and volunteers in making a positive difference to the district.

It was also announced the council had accepted a standing invitation for a member to sit on the community association’s board of trustees. This was taken up by councillor Angus Dunn, who was also at the meeting and added his own support for the role of community organisations in Southwick.

Mr Ryder, who was confirmed as chairman for the next 12 months, said: “We are delighted to welcome Angus Dunn as one of our trustees for the coming year He has a great understanding of the local community here.

“Also, I’m sure his involvement will be invaluable in getting the very best out of the working relationship between the community centre and the council.”

Members heard the community centre had enjoyed a successful financial year, with income up by seven per cent and an operating surplus of about £20,000 for the year as a whole.

On top of that, more than £7,000 had been raised from community events and other fundraising, along with grants and donations of nearly £4,000.

Mr Ryder thanked the centre’s staff and volunteers for their efforts to increase the number of activities, which had helped to put the association’s operating account ‘firmly back into the black’.

He added: “In addition to this success with day-to-day costs, we’re still succeeding in our tradition of raising new ‘capital’ funds, which are ploughed back into improving the community centre’s buildings and facilities.”