Organisers of a pensioners’ bingo club in Northampton are demanding answers as to why they have been locked out of a community centre with no warning.
The club at Nene Drive Community room, situated within a block of elderly persons’ bungalows on Nene Drive, has been meeting on a Monday and a Friday for 30 years and has some members well into their nineties.
What’s the point in having a community room if the community can’t use it?Sylvia Wright
But this week treasurer Sylvia Wright was told that Northampton Partnership Homes, which owns the building, had changed the locks to the premises and would not be supplying the club with a key.
Mrs Wright was told her 11 club members could join a bingo session run by another group at the community centre on a Wednesday night instead.
But she says it starts too late for her elderly members and is £4 more expensive to take part in.
She said: “Until I received a letter there was no warning of this whatsoever.
“Some of the members are 90, they just want to get out for a couple of hours twice a week and meet people.
“It is ridiculous they are giving us no explanation.”
Last night, as she did not want to let the club members down, 74-year-old Mrs Wright had all 11 members round her bungalow on Nene Drive for the bingo session.
But she worries whether the club can carry on now.
The former shoe factory worker has been running it for eight years and her prizes are mainly food items. Last night the prizes were fresh gammon steaks, chicken and fish.
All the money the club raises goes back to the members, who she takes out on day trips and provides a Christmas dinner for.
Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) says it has changed the locks as there are issues with ‘access controls’ to Nene Drive Community Room.
A spokesperson said: “NPH is currently reviewing all of our community spaces to ensure they are safe and secure environments with appropriate access controls that comply with public venue legislation.
“This review has had a direct impact on some of our customers and we are currently liaising with them to resolve all their issues.
“We are unable to comment on individuals, but can confirm that we are listening to all the feedback we receive from our tenants and supporting them and are working with them to find solutions.”
But Mrs Wright said; “What’s the point in having a community room if the community can’t use it?”