A GROUP of older people in Stoke Prior who campaigned to have their community hub replaced after their old one was deemed structurally unsafe have had their wishes come true.
And the announcement that The Shac will be replaced with a new portable cabin comes just five weeks after The Standard’s front page story, highlighting the women’s plight.
We reported on September 18 that residents living in Prior Avenue had been forced to put up a gazebo in their courtyard so they could have a place to meet up, socialise, hold craft sessions, play bingo and host charity fund-raisers.
But now, following that appeal and thanks to a contribution by Worcestershire County Councillor Chris Bloore, Bromsgrove District Housing Trust has been able to fund the £20,000 project and the replacement is set to be up and running by Christmas.
Mike Brown, the housing trust’s chief executive, said the decision to close The Shac was not taken lightly and, due to safety issues, was unavoidable.
“As soon as we realised there were structural difficulties with it, we knew that we needed to try to replace the facility as soon as possible.
“However these are very difficult financial times and we’ve had to work extremely hard to find a way to provide a replacement facility.”
He said the solution came through hard work and a partnership approach and thanked Coun Bloore for providing £4,000 through his Worcestershire County Council Divisional Fund.
“We are very happy to be able to provide this important facility, which enables the local community to come together and hope that the people of Stoke Prior will enjoy many happy times in the new Shac,” he added.
Coun Bloore added: “After talking to local residents it became clear how much they value The Shac and I’m delighted to have been able to use my divisional funds to work directly with Mike Brown to ensure its future.”
He added it also showed Mike and BDHT were committed to supporting Bromsgrove residents.
Resident Elaine Young welcomed the news and said: “I’m really pleased this has happened – it means the older people will have somewhere to go for the winter, depending on when it is built.
“It’s what the community needs.
“We had another offer from The Navigation and I went there to thank them personally for it but it was a bit far away – a lot of the people who used The Shac could hardly walk.”
Elaine also thanked The Standard for its intervention and helping to get the situation resolved.