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Residents hold open day in bid to save Penge community centre theatened with closure

PUBLISHED: 15:52 11 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:52 12 August 2016

Melvin Hall

Melvin Hall

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Age Concern is not renewing its lease on the centre

Residents have set up a community group to help save a centre for the elderly that is threatened with closure.

Melvin Hall community centre in Penge has been serving the public since the end of the Second World War, but it is due to close on August 16 as current owner Age Concern will not be renewing the lease.

A group of residents is holding an open day this Saturday to invite expressions of interest from people who may wish to use the centre.

Maureen Clark, who used to work for Age Concern at Melvin Hall, said: “The centre was getting elderly people out and making sure they ate their dinner. It was a way of them socialising.

“About three years ago the council put a rent charge on, so it went from nothing to £22,000 a year.

“Then they started charging for the elderly to come and use the centre, which could be anything up to £24 a day.

“In February, they brought in a £15 transport charge, which the charity would not be able to sustain.

“So we formed a community group, just to show Bromley Council what else we could use it for.

“We have got about eight groups to show the potential of the hall, and the mayor and some councillors are coming to the open day.

Mrs Clark added that some of the elderly people have had to move to other centres, such as the Bertha James Centre, but they face the same problems.

The open day will be held at the centre from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, August 13. Refreshments will be available.

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