Hundreds back fight to save Earby community hub

New Road Community Centre in Earby. (S)

New Road Community Centre in Earby. (S)

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Hundreds have signed a petition to urging Lancashire County Council not to close an Earby community centre.

The New Road facility was the hub of a community response during the Boxing Day floods when it became an emergency base for volunteers helping those people who were forced from their homes.

It’s community centres like these that keep people together

Vicki Noble

Throughout the year, the centre is the home of groups including the Scouts, Pendle Karate Academy, the luncheon club, Earby history society, the gardeners’ society and Earby Camera Club.

A final decision by Lancashire County Council will be made next month on whether to close the centre. New Road, along with Earby Library, has fallen into the Colne category in County Hall’s “properties for consideration” and the proposal is to cut six of the nine properties. Seven of the nine are in Colne or Trawden.

Joshua Connor, one of those who volunteered in the aftermath of the Boxing Day floods, said: “The fact it’s facing possible closure is ridiculous. It’s in the centre of Earby and is the only place that can be opened at the drop of a hat.

“Every room was in use after the floods; the café for serving food and drinks; the hall was full of clothing and furniture donations; the lounge had electrical items and the activity room with cleaning products.

“It’s the only real community facility we have, it’s open pretty much every day of the week, and caters for children and the elderly. It would be a massive shame if it was closed and would be devastating for the community.”

His view is echoed by others who have signed the petition.

Margherita Edwards wrote: “I have just moved back to Earby and can’t understand how such a village hub could be threatened with closure.

“It provides elderly with a hot meal, provides kids and teenagers with a safe place to go, there are lots of groups use it and everyone knows any problems and they can pop in anytime and get a listening ear or help with a problem.

“Please don’t close it, Earby has so very little, not even a bank, and a council shop that’s only open a few hours twice a week. Please don’t take our beloved centre as well.”

Vicki Noble said: “It’s important centres like these across the country stay open. It’s community centres like these that keep people together.

“By closing these, you start to see the decline of fundamental community spirit values, especially in Earby when the town is quite remote in its own right if you do not own a car.”

Sophie Metcalfe said: “It’s the hub of our community life, without it Earby wouldn’t be the same.

“There’d be no where for the Remembrance Sunday procession to take off from, no where for community fun days and nowhere for kids parties or events.

“The 2015 Boxing Day flood victims would have being lost without it, they relied on it as safe place! Where would we be without it?”

The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/lancashire-county-council-save-our-earby-community-center