Anger after council takes over Chadwell Heath community centre

Volunteers are demanding answers from the council after they say their contract to run a community centre was terminated without explanation.

The Marks Gate Community Centre in Rose Lane, Chadwell Heath, will be taken back under council management from today (Friday), the volunteers say.

The centre is owned by the authority but has been run by the Marks Gate Umbrella Organisation, which represents the volunteers and groups who use it, for the past two years.

Chairman Ingrid Spindler received the note of termination of the contract at the beginning of the month.

She said: “I really don’t understand it. They didn’t consult anyone. They gave no explanation of any kind.”

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She said that when she challenged a council officer about the lack of consultation, she had been told that the council was not required to consult about the issue.

Ingrid said the association does not make a profit but collects rent and puts it back into the maintenance and refurbishment of the building.

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The centre accommodates an adult college, a library and a children’s centre.

A council spokeswoman said it believes that a single management arrangement would make it easier to run the centre.

She added: “The council entered into a management agreement with the Umbrella Association for the community centre in April 2010.

“The agreement sets out that either party can end the agreement with one month’s notice.

“We are grateful to the Umbrella Association for the effort they have put in to manage the community hall and look forward to working with them in the future.

“We would be happy to meet with the chairman of the Umbrella Association to discuss how we might continue to work with their volunteers and to confirm the transfer arrangements for all of the groups using the centre.”

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