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Littlehampton charities face ‘crisis’ as ageing base closes

Left,Nik Demetriades (Enable Me chief executive)  and Peter Austin (ACCT) are being forced to move from the Dairy Community Centre. Littlehampton.

Left,Nik Demetriades (Enable Me chief executive) and Peter Austin (ACCT) are being forced to move from the Dairy Community Centre. Littlehampton.

Two charities in Littlehampton are in a “desperate situation” as the community centre they operate in looks set to close.

Littlehampton Town Council has announced it will be closing the Dairy Community Centre, in Church Street, in March, next year – a move which threatens the futures of the Enable Me Project and Arun Co-ordinated Community Transport (ACCT).

The town council insists it is doing everything it can to help the groups, but says the spiralling costs of maintaining the aging facility are becoming too great.

Peter Austin, project manager of ACCT, claimed the decision could cause his organisation to close.

‘Desperate time’

“It’s a desperate time for us at the moment,” he said. “We have just lost £20,000 of our funding from West Sussex County Council and then to be hit with this news is like a double whammy. It’s quite a shock.

“The problem for us is it’ll be fairly easy to find an office, but it’s finding a safe place to store the vehicles in which is the problem.

“Everywhere we have looked we simply can’t afford.”

Peter added that three part-time staff could face redundancy. He might also lose a number of the 40 volunteer drivers who help to serve around 1,000 disabled people every month.

New community centres planned

Peter Herbert, clerk to the town council, said that around £100,000 would need to be spent to remove harmful asbestos from The Dairy’s roof.

He added that the council would be providing a new facility on the site of the disused housing offices, in Church Street, and that the town would also be getting a new centre as part of the North Littlehampton development, and was considering further facilities in Wick.

 

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