A COMMUNITY hall used by groups across Castle Point could be forced to close because it’s too expensive to run.

The hall, in John Burrows Recreation Ground, Hadleigh, is owned by the WRVS, a group of volunteers who help elderly people throughout the country to stay independent.

Groups that use the hall have been told it’s not cost effective to keep the hall going, but no final decision has been made.

Brenda Inston, has been project manager at the WRVS hall for 15 years and has volunteered for 28 years. Mrs Inston, 78, runs the over 60s lunch club which meets on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and has 45 members.

She said: “We are at risk of being closed down. It would be letting down a lot of people, they would have to be transported to Benfleet which is much further to go.

“We have got people who come on foot or on motorised buggies and they couldn’t go all that way. It’s somewhere to come and have a hot meal and chat to their friends. It is a lifeline, particularly for the housebound.

“Everyone here wants the club to carry on. We are fighting hard to prevent this from happening if we possibly can.”

Alan Negus, 81, goes to the lunch club with his wife Doris, 73.

Mr Negus, of Parkfields, Hadleigh, said they take the Castle Point Social Car Scheme to the hall every week.

He said: “What they are saying is it is a timber-framed building and it is going to cost a lot of money to maintain it.

“We get picked up at quarter to ten and we sit and have a natter. It costs us £2 each return and we pay £4 each for dinner and a sweet and 40p for a cup of tea.

“We have a raffle and a man gives up his time and plays the piano. That’s our social life.”