Jan 24 2013 By Kitty Teague
Hanwell Community Centre
HANWELL Community Centre will be under new management when it is taken over by Ealing Council from April 1 this year.
The landmark centre, which has a rich and varied history, will change hands from the Hanwell Community Association, which has run the site since 1945.
The decision to change the management of the building came last November 2012 after Hanwell Community Association Ltd refused the terms of a new lease agreement issued by Ealing Council, which had been decided in court.
However, the move will not be permanent and the council said it intends to discuss who will take charge of the centre with local community groups.
The authority will stand in temporarily to oversee the smooth transition of the building from one organisation to another, and to ensure that sport, leisure and community activities can continue as normal.
Council leader Julian Bell said: “Hanwell Community Centre is a local landmark and a fantastic community asset. We plan on working with the community to look for more ways local people can benefit from the site.”
Hanwell Community Forum is one of the groups that has expressed an interest in taking over the centre.
Carolyn Brown, from the forum said: “This is very good news. There are fabulous things going on there. You don't want to lose the activity groups and the council will be there to ensure that the transition period is as smooth as possible so that these groups can continue to operate.
"The building has got some absolutely terrific history. There is still work that needs to be done. It needs a lift and it needs loos on every floor. I believe the majority of the money is still there to help pay for the work it needs.”
Between 2009 and 2011, the council injected £3.67million into the centre for conservation reparations and refurbishment.
The 1856 building started out as a school for orphaned and disadvantaged children, and its alumni include Charlie Chaplain and his half brother Sydney. It has since featured in films, such as Billy Elliot, and has been used for rehearsal space by bands such as The Who, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin.
Nowadays the centre hosts a variety of community functions and meetings, offering activities including pottery, upholstery and craftwork classes.
It is also used as an indoor sports venue, offering badminton, boxing, five-a-side football and martial arts, and the sporting facilities are frequently used by Drayton Mannor High School and the National Autistic Society's Leap Service.