Campaigners to stage protest to call for Telford community centre to reopen

Campaigners are planning to protest outside a community centre in Telford at the weekend, calling for it to be reopened.

The West Indian Community Centre, in Hadley, has been closed since 2017 after environmental officers said its toilets were not up to standard.

Now a small, socially distanced protest will be held on Saturday urging the Telford West Indian Association to open the doors to the building.

It is being held by the "Reclaim Telford West Indian Association",

One of its members, Donna Yee, said: "Our aim is to protest about the way in which the trustees of TWIA have locked the community centre for several years without any communication with the West Indian Community or wider Community.

"We want clarity and ultimately to reclaim our community centre."

She said the building was gifted to the West Indian Community in the 1980s for £1.

"There is a big West Indian community here and lots of group, from youth clubs to a sewing group, who could use the building. There are also lots of people with skills and experience to help run the building," she said.

She stressed that the police had been informed about Saturday's protest and said that everything would be going ahead in line with Covid rules.

The West Indian Association says that it hopes to reopen the building early next year.

Mr Verley Brisset, for the association, said that it had been forced to close the building in 2017 when Telford and Wrekin council deemed that the toilets were not up to standard.

There had also been questions over the ownership of the building but that had now been sorted out and improvement works had taken place in the centre.

"We are now hopeful that the community centre can reopen in January," Mr Brisset said.

"Of course with the current restrictions everything has to be Covid secure before we can open."

He said that a protest was not the way to move forward.

"I do not believe the protestors are members of the Telford West Indian Association," he said.

"To have a say in the community centre you have to join the association. There are proper channels that you have to go through to become involved."

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