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Southend over 50s social club set to lose base again
A SOCIAL club for older people could be left without a base after being forced to leave its current home at the end of next month.
Club 50 plus, which provides day-time activities for the over 50s, has been temporarily housed in Margaret Thatcher House, in Victoria Avenue, Southend, since April 2013.
However, it must leave as the Southend Council building is due for demolition.
Member Maureen Stanton, 74, said: “We are supposed to be moving into a place above the shops in Queens Road, but we have had no assurance from the our club committee the lease has been sorted for us to move straight in. It will be terrible if we can’t get into another place as so many people use the club every day.”
The club had 300 members when it moved into Margaret Thatcher House, but by this spring it was down to 200.
Formerly known as Club 60, it provides activities including keep fit, snooker, dancing, tai chi and table tennis, and is entirely run by volunteers. The club has been hopping between council buildings and was previously in Queensway House, in Essex Street, but had to move as that building was also due to be demolished.
It went to Margaret Thatcher House after negotiations to lease Dencorra Court, in Tylers Avenue, Southend, failed at the eleventh hour.
A planning application to turn 1B Queen’s Road into a new base for the group was approved earlier this year.
Jim Newton, vice chairman of the Club 50 plus committee, said: “The negotiations for the lease continue and we are hopeful of it being sorted in time. A worst case scenario is we may have to put stuff in storage for a month before we can move in.
“The landlord wanted the council to act as guarantor for the first five years rent, but the council will only do three years so that is being finalised.
Ian Gilbert, Southend councillor for community development, said: “We understand the vital importance of Club 50 plus to the local community.
“The Council has been working over a long period with the club committee.
“In the immediate future, Margaret Thatcher House will remain as an office for council staff.”
For more information about the club, or to make a donation, call 01702 613562.