New Barnham community centre is vital says chairman

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The need for a new village community centre in Barnham is vital.

At Barnham Parish Council’s annual assembly, the chairman of the Barnham Leisure Amenities Development Enterprise (BLADE), Terry Bedford, revealed the need for the new purpose-built facility had never been greater.

“It will not be long before this hall is unfit for use. The antiquated village hall has served the community well for 80 years, but it is coming to the end of its life,” said Mr Bedford.

“It is subsiding and is full of asbestos. There is so much that needs doing it just is not possible to repair it. We are hoping to be able to cut the turf for the new hall by 2012.

“The new parish hall development team is seeking grants to help fund the build, and BLADE has been fundraising tirelessly, but we still have a long way to go. We do need more community support,” he added.

The new centre is expected to cost around £1.5m to build, and would be a multi-use facility constructed to the highest specification.

“Hopefully the new hall will have a stage, kitchen area, bar, youth room, doctors’ surgery, first aid room, office for the parish clerk and, importantly, storage areas which anyone who has used the current hall will know is severely lacking,” added Mr Bedford.

A police room would also be housed in the hall, something Mr Bedford said he felt would have a positive impact on the village.

“It would be good for us to have a permanent place for the police, and they are excited about the prospect too.”

BLADE, working closely with the parish council, has conducted countless fundraising events to raise money, not just for the centre, but other facilities to improve the lives of the villagers.

Mr Bedford, also chairman of the new parish hall development team, an organisation working towards the future hall, paid tribute to BLADE members, who he credited with making the organisation the strongest it had ever been.