Claremont First Step Community Centre were shocked and sorry to hear of the closure of North Shore Methodist Church which has its last service at the end of September this year. Although we have known for many years that the congregation of the Church was failing, it was a tremendous shock to us when we were informed a few months ago that the decision to close the Church had been made.  We have been going strong within the building for the last eighteen years, in fact in 1999 the Community Centre was a project first mooted by the Church to help vulnerable people within the Claremont Community and beyond.  The refurbishment of the Church Hall was started with funding from Single Regeneration Budget, and it was a very exciting project which opened in June 2000.

Since opening, the Centre has gone from strength to strength with various clubs for our senior community, Children’s projects, our Wednesday club for people with complex needs and disabilities, helping with Advice & Guidance, and giving the unemployed access to Computers free of charge to look for employment and sign up for the various benefits that have now become digital.  We have a lot of projects going on within the Claremont Ward through our steering group Claremont Ten, which is funded by the People’s Health Trust. This project has guided residents in the area to become involved in cleaning up Alleyways and streets, putting up 50 hanging baskets all summer for the last two years, winning different categories in Blackpool in Bloom, hanging 50 mini Xmas trees around the Ten streets and also having a huge Xmas Tree in Egerton Square.  All this would not have been possible without the Community Centre being a focal point to make it happen.

What we really want your readers to realise is although we are very sad that the Church is closing the Claremont First Step Community Centre is very much alive and thriving and IS NOTclosing at the end of the month. We have a good number of years to run in our lease and it is very much business as usual and we are continuing to run our projects in full.  Our four clubs a week are still open Mondays and Tuesdays are full day social clubs for our senior members, Wednesdays a social club for Complex needs and of course our very popular Friday Luncheon Club with has been going since 2004.  We have lots of plans, including day trips, theatre nights, meal’s out and of course celebrating all the parties like Halloween and Xmas that comes in this season.  We are in the process of starting a new project for Children & Families which will be up and running in the near future.

We are still able to welcome new members to all our clubs we do not turn anyone away and through your paper look forward to any of your readers joining us.  We have often said through your columns that there is no need for people who want to change their lives to sit at home, join us, you will be made to feel very welcome and it is a great way to make a change for the better in your life, especially if you are lonely. Come along give us a ring on 01253 299306we are open and will continue our open door policy in the future, although the main body of the Church is closing we are still in the building, join us in our journey we are continuing to grow and prosper with your reader’s help.