All staff at the Trinity Community Resource Centre in Dane Valley are being made redundant and the centre will close due to the devastating impact of Covid.
The centre is a hub for groups across the community, from being the base for the Sunshine Pre School to hosting clubs such as the Thunderers Boccia group, being used for resident association meetings, hosting groups such as Thanet Over Fifties Forum and providing support for the elderly with meals and through a valuable dementia service.
It has been open and providing a service since 2006 and was established under the then vicar of Holy Trinity Church, the Rev Arthur Houston, with members of the Parochial Church Council, congregation and those involved in other local churches.
But the Trustees of the centre have announced “the hardest and saddest decision” following a board meeting.
A statement says: “The Centre has served the young through the Sunshine Pre-School, the elderly through the provision of lunches and provided support to those suffering with dementia and their families. Under the guidance of the Rev John Richardson the Centre truly developed to become a resource and support for all ‘from cradle to grave’.
“Like many charities, the Centre has struggled with finances and from the outset received and relied on significant financial contributions from both the congregation at Holy Trinity and the Diocese of Canterbury in addition to the substantial time of volunteers.
“However, since 2009, the Centre had become more self-sufficient and more resilient to the changing economic times, adapting and restructuring to meet the different challenges posed by changes in grant funding.
“The arrival of Covid-19 was beyond the control of the Board and the truly dedicated staff team. It’s impact on the voluntary sector has been devastating and the Centre could not escape. The Board recognised that it has become financially untenable to maintain the services it offered in a way which would be safe to those using and relying on them, including the Sunshine Pre-School.
“As a consequence, all staff are being made redundant and are being supported in finding new employment and our service users have been advised of the closure of the Centre. We remain in discussions with Holy Trinity Church and the Diocese regarding the handing back of the buildings to them.
“Finally, all the Trustees wish to pay special thanks to the dedicated team of staff, under the leadership of Catherine Eeles over the last 10 years, who have given everything in supporting the work of the Centre over the years. Without their dedication and expertise the Centre would not have developed a reputation for professionalism that has been recognised by Kent County Council when awarding successive contracts and through shining Ofsted reports. Thank you to you all and to all of those who have used the Centre and for whom the Centre was there to serve.”
Deputy Manager of Sunshine Pre-School, Charleen Moxam, is in talks with Holy Trinity Church and Ofsted with the hope of opening a new nursery at the site.
It is also hoped the buildings can continue in community use under the care of the church. Rev Clifford Stocking, of Holy Trinity Church, said: “Unfortunately they did not manage to survive covid. It is a separate company to the church and the church is still here and open.
“In time, as and when we can under covid guidelines, we hope to offer community use. At the moment we are a church hall again, so the hall can be hired, and there are negotiations for the pre-school.”