Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Photograph of the outside of Ore Community Centre, East Sussex

County Council put their Trust in Ore

My first impression on walking into the office of Mags Pawson (Manager of Ore Community Centre) was ‘how could they ever think of closing down something this busy’. The room looked to be a hive of activity, desks covered with community material and the walls filled with ‘what’s going on’.

According to Mags, this wasn’t always the case and their efforts of recent years has come to full with the County Council
initiating proceedings to hand over the building to be held in Trust for the residents of Ore village. Since taking on the Manager’s post just over two years ago, Mags has presided over a growth in group usage of the centre from 8 to around 30.  There has also been a 100% rise in children’s parties along with numerous social and club events.

However when I used the term ‘their efforts’, I should really have said Mags and a handful of volunteers as she is the only
paid member of staff!

Recently she and Shirley, the playgroup leader, decorated the children’s playgroup area so that it now operates five days a week. This seems to epitomise Mags’ contribution to the cause where, in her own words, it’s a case of ‘All working together to maximise everyone having a good time’.

One group of workers that Mags could not praise enough were the people on community service payback scheme – ‘without their help none of this would have been possible’ she said.

The centre has a buzzing café but this is just one of the areas that Mags has ‘rented’ out to make the books meet.  Mags pointed out that, until the completion of the handover of the Centre, it is very difficult to get access to grants or
other sources of revenue. ‘Virtually everything here is available to rent, even the cupboard in the corner!’

The centre itself has a large hall area that can seat 140 available for just £15 per hour with a smaller one (100 seater) for £10, space and costs to cover all! ‘We are very flexible around the hiring arrangements and put our trust in people which is nearly always justified.’

Along with the ever present ‘Wendy Cameron Dance School’, the centre hosts a diversity of groups from art clubs, to self-defence lessons, to street dance group, bingo and even Weightwatchers.

In the future Mags would like a website and more social media to promote the centre but as always. ‘time and money’ are of a premium, so any help forthcoming would be greatly appreciated…

When asked to sum up the vision held for the Community Centre, Mags said simply ‘To be the hub of Ore village’ and especially likes the idea of more social gatherings. I, for one, found it a most social place to be.

If anyone would like to support Mags or find out more, she can be contacted on 01424 432719


Article by Graham Hodgson



Posted 18:38 Tuesday, Sep 27, 2011 In: Hastings People

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