PRESS RELEASE 2013/07/03

Don’t Lock us out of our centre

This week local people from Wivenhoe, Alresford and Elmstead Market will be demonstrating their support for the Hub youth club and the other community groups based at the Phillip Road centre in Wivenhoe, after the groups received a letter from Essex County Council telling them to pack up and leave by 28th July.

The Hub youth club, the Colne Bank school of dance and the Moving Image community cinema have just three weeks to remove all of their equipment from the centre and face an uncertain future in view of the lack of suitable alternative venues.

A petition on Change.org has already attracted over 700 supporters in just three days. Comments on the website express anger at the council’s decision and at the lack of consultation with the groups involved. The fear is that the building faces months if not years of disuse while ECC seeks new occupants.

The fate of these three groups is a vivid illustration of the lack of substance behind the cliché of “the big society”.

The Hub youth club was created in 2008 by a group of local volunteers in response to ECC’s decision to cut funding for youth services. It provides a wide variety of activities for more than 100 boys and girls on two evenings each week. It is run by volunteers and depends entirely on its own fundraising activities.

The Colne Bank school of dance was set up in 1982 by Jenny Overton and has been based at the Phillip Road centre for over thirty years. As well as making an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of the community, Miss Jenny’s classes have helped many of the students to gain prestigious qualifications and to go on to careers in the performing arts.

Award-winning director Mike Leigh is patron of Moving Image, which has taken special pride in supporting independent British films including Black Pond, Sightseers and In Love with Alma Cogan. The volunteer-run cinema was set up in 2010 and rapidly attracted over 300 members. Moving Image has supported many local events including the Colchester Film Festival and Castle Zombie at Colchester Castle.

The three groups want ECC to reconsider their unreasonable demand and to enter into consultations over continued use of the building while the community develops its own proposal to purchase the centre.

For further information concerning the Hub youth club, email: thehub08@googlemail.com or contact Sanchia Nash or Chris Hirst on 07905529394

For further information concerning Moving Image, contact info@movingimage.org.uk or Moira Collett on 07715987150 or Michael Padmore on 07936325603

For further information concerning the Colne Bank school of dance, contact Jenny Overton on 07702871107

See the Change.org petition at: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/essex-county-council-reverse-the-decision-to-lock-out-the-community-groups-using-phillip-road-2

For comments left by the petition supporters, see: http://www.movingimage.org.uk/petition/