More than 1,300 people sign a petition to save the Chuter Ede Community Centre from closure
A petition has been launched in an effort to save Chuter Ede Community Centre from closure later this year.
Community groups that use the centre, on Galsworthy Road in Biddick Hall, were informed by the Community Interest Organisation of its decision to close the site due to financial reasons.
The initial closure date was marked for May 5; however, South Tyneside Council stepped in and agreed to extend the closure date to the end of the summer holidays.
A petition has been launched by those who use the centre in an effort to convince the authorities that run it to keep it open.
At the time of writing, 1,356 people have pledged their support to the cause, with the page stating that Chuter Ede Community Centre provides a “lifeline for many”.
The petition says: “Both young and old use the centre to learn new skills, make new friends and so much more. Chuter Ede is an important as a social and cultural hub within the community.
“Many of the groups that use the centre have invested their own money into ensuring they can offer services and, as such, have made an investment into the community which is sorely needed.
“The centre was running at a profit until the energy crisis and they were not allowed to be put on a lower tariff.
“The council have failed to maintain the building to a reasonable standard .
“The local council has now announced long term plans to use the site for extra care accommodation for adults with care needs. The plans are currently in the design stage. Groups were only notified on Monday and only have until 3rd September to secure new premises.
“We need to save Chuter Ede Community Association as there are many young people and adults who utilise the centre, both in the local community and surrounding area, as well as the spacious green area attached as it is a lifeline for many.”
Despite owning the building, South Tyneside Council has said it has not been involved in the decision to close the community centre.
The local authority will work with groups that are based in the centre to help them find new premises ahead of the closure.
Councillor Ruth Berkley, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, said: “We appreciate that this is an unsettling time as a result of a decision made by a third party and in which we had no part.
“The groups who use this centre are our number one priority and we are doing, and will continue to do, all we can to support them.”
The council also said that groups which use the centre are aware of the Council’s long term plans to use the site for Extra Care accommodation for adults with care needs.
The plans are currently in the design stage and will include integrated community facilities, with a planning application likely to be submitted early next year.
If approved, it is estimated that work will start towards the back end of 2024.
If you wish to view the petition to save Chuter Ede Community Centre, you can do so by clicking here.