THEY say a week is a long time in politics – well five weeks is an awfully long time for local pensioners to be locked out of the Oughtrington Luncheon Club.
At the time of writing, that is the length of time members of the Oughtrington Luncheon Club have been locked out of their premises following a fall-out between Trustees and volunteers.
I say “their premises” because the community centre is there to benefit the whole community – and nobody should be locked out of a community building unless they have broken the law.
While I have been actively reporting on the sorry state of affairs, I have done my best not to take sides and given both sides an equal opportunity to state their case – I have tried to mediate and even offered to cover the cost of meals until the dispute can be resolved.
The ones who are suffering from the decision to lock the luncheon club out are the elderly members who have been left upset and confused by the decision.
Below is my last communication to the Chair of Trustees Paul Gibson in a bid to get the premises re-opened for the luncheon club. If anyone can explain to me what is unreasonable about my request I would love to hear from you?
To the Trustees – PLEASE re-open this building to the luncheon club ASAP while a conclusion is reached to this sorry state of affairs. Now the parish council have appointed a representative to be a fellow trustee – surely they can be entrusted to have a key to open up the building and let the luncheon club members of their hot meals twice a week again?
Many thanks for taking the time to drop off the folder of correspondence between yourself and Derek and the luncheon club at my office.
It is unfortunate I was unaware of your visit and not in at the time.
I have taken the time to read through every bit of documentation and still cannot see any valid reason why you cannot allow the Luncheon Club to continue serving hot meals to the pensioners in the local community while this issue is resolved.
The pensioners are now four weeks without their luncheon club and with solicitors and the parish council now involved it isn’t likely to get resolved any time soon unless everyone can put their differences aside and put those who are most vulnerable in our community first.
I don’t want to take sides in this issue – I just want it resolved.
Surely you can agree a weekly fee for the Luncheon Club to use the premises on a month-by-month basis until the issue is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
They clearly have the funds and looking in from the outside (with all the information I have got) it appears unfair to expect the luncheon club volunteers to just hand over their funds and walk away from something they are clearly passionate about.
Unless you can provide a valid reason could you please confirm a figure and allow the luncheon club to resume ASAP?
The sorry saga is causing great upset in the community and whoever is in the wrong or the right – the Trustees of the Community Centre are not coming across in a good light and from the information you have provided it would appear it is starting to have a negative impact on the facility and users – which is something no one wants to see.
I would love nothing better than us all to sit down at the luncheon club and celebrate new beginnings before this gets dragged out with solicitors, the parish council and the Charity Commission.
Let’s put a smile back on the faces of the Luncheon Club members ASAP