'Not going without a fight': Pensioners oppose plan to move club

Park Centre in Rectory Road, Dagenham

Park Centre in Rectory Road, Dagenham - Credit: Google

Pensioners are fighting Barking and Dagenham Council over plans to move their club.

Jean Wisbey told the Post that there are around 60 members of the club, based at Park Centre in Rectory Road.

But the council confirmed that Leaping Toads nursery moving into the building is under consideration.

Members of the OAP club, which Jean said has been based at the centre for 70 years, met with Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas to voice their concerns.

Jean told the Post: "We are not going out of there without a fight.

"A lot of people live on their own and it just gives them something to look forward to."

According to a council spokesperson, club members have previously been offered and used another site in the same neighbourhood and most are taken there by the dial a ride scheme.

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But Jean, who has been a member for 18 years, said: "If they (the council) say we have got to move, I think the club will close."

Mr Cruddas said he would take up the issue on behalf of the group, which is part of the council's Young at Heart programme.

He said he has been "inundated" with messages from concerned residents worried about the centre's future.

MP Jon Cruddas will press for funding to support social care and NHS

Jon Cruddas met with members of the Park Centre pensioners' club - Credit: Andrew Achilleos

In a video posted to his Twitter account, he said: "The Park Centre does a fantastic job looking after some of our older residents.

"It's not about young groups versus older groups. We should be looking after everyone."

The council said it is committed to continuing to fund and provide the Young at Heart service.

The spokesperson added: “The building currently hosting the nursery is being demolished and the Park Centre is one of the options for the nursery who will be able to meet the costs of the building’s maintenance.

"We are committed to continuing to look at potential alternative options with Young at Heart and the nursery to ensure both provisions continue to be provided in the local neighbourhood and with no disruption.’’

Leaping Toads is also based in Rectory Road and offers nursery provision for two to five-year-olds as well as after school and Saturday activities for five to 12-year-olds.