‘It is a massive loss for the area’ – South Tyneside dance school owner urges council to reconsider closing Chuter Ede Community Centre
A South Tyneside dance school is campaigning to prevent Chuter Ede Community Centre from closing for good later this year.
Community groups at the centre, on Galsworthy Road in Biddick Hall, have been told that the site will close later this year due to financial reasons.
South Tyneside Council have said that they will support the groups at Chuter Ede Community Centre to help them find new premises ahead of the closure – with the local authority telling the Gazette it has met with a number of groups on an individual basis and is currently supporting them.
Lynne Griffiths, from Biddick Hall, runs Lynne’s Dancefit at the centre, and now she is pleading with South Tyneside Council not to permanently close the site.
The 44-year-old said: “We’ve been here for about four years but in January, we managed to get our own room and we had just finished decorating it before we found out that the centre will be closing.
"My pupils of my dance group are very local to the centre so I’m devastated, I’ve been crying nonstop; everyone is devastated not just for us, but the entire local community.
"Everyone in this area has some sort of memory that is linked to Chuter Ede, my great Nana used to go to school here so it is a massive loss.
"We already suffer from anti-social behaviour and it is only going to get worse as the young people who use the centre will have nowhere to go.
"I don’t think there is a need for us to move, the centre is structurally sound, it only needs a new roof so we just need the funding to sort that.
“We were promised a new car park so I don’t get why we can’t use that money to sort the roof instead."
Rachael Milne, of South Tyneside Green Party, grew up a stones throw from the centre and she has highlighted how important Chuter Ede is to the local community that it serves.
She added: “Most people that use the centre are local people, it is a big housing estate so the centre is really valued and needed.
"By moving the services away from this centre, people are going to have to travel further afield rather than being able to walk here and it takes the opportunity away from young people to better themselves.
"It would be better for people to be focused with the right kind of support offered in this centre rather than being out on the streets causing trouble.
"There is only a few details about what the replacement on this site will be, we don’t know how big it will be, how many rooms it will have, who it will accommodate, what services it will have, there is no information whatsoever.”
An online petition has also been set up in an effort to save the centre from closing. At the time of writing, it has been signed more than 1,800 times at the time of writing – you can view it by clicking here.