Uncertain future for Redbridge learning disability club

A Redbridge club providing social interaction, music and trips for people with learning disabilities is facing an uncertain future as the charity running it struggles with costs.

Redbridge Mencap is looking for a new home for its Gateway Club, which supports up to 50 adults every week, because the charity is having difficulty paying its hire charges.

The club currently pays Vision Redbridge to use the Mildmay Neighbourhood Learning Centre, Mildmay Road, Ilford, but trustee Lesley Hayley, 55, of Clayhall, said the club could fold unless cheaper premises can be found.

Redbridge Mencap chairman Karen Fineberg said: “We’ve been looking at our central fund, and we just don’t have anything topping up the rent.

“We can’t allow it to carry on for too much longer and we haven’t been able to find anywhere else.”

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For its weekly two-hour session, which can include bingo, Zumba and dance, Redbridge Mencap pays a discounted hire rate for charity groups of �51.

After relocating from the former Chadwell Centre in Gresham Drive, Chadwell Heath, in 2009, the club received support from Redbridge Council in paying its hire costs until 2011.

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A council spokesman said: “The agreement finished with a view that the cost of hire would be paid for by membership costs.

“We are sorry to hear the group still has financial concerns.

“We would be happy to discuss the options open to the club to help them to find a way to continue running it in the borough.”

If it has to move, the charity hopes to find a location near Ilford Town Centre so members can benefit from local bus routes.

Harvey Sharpe, 63, of Basildon Avenue, Clayhall, whose 34-year-old daughter Naomi attends the club, said: “If it was to stop, it’s one less thing my daughter would be doing.

“There is only so much she can do with her disability.”

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