THE future of Avonway Community Centre in Fordingbridge is "at risk" unless new trustees can be found.

Over the last 15 years the centre in Shaftesbury Street has been refurbished and run by a small team of volunteer officers and trustees with a paid part-time manager.

But the acting chairman of the trustees Janet Brown said “Avonway is approaching a crisis” as the number of trustees is at an “unsustainable” level. Janet and treasurer Iain Kidson both took office in 2021 and plan to retire at the AGM on May 24.

The other three trustees, all of whom work, do not have the time to carry out the day-to-day administration required to keep the Fordingbridge and District Community Association running, although their input on deciding how Avonway should be run is valued. More trustees are needed - representing all ages and interests in Fordingbridge.

“It is essential that we find more trustees in the next few months as the idea of Avonway closing down is too terrible to contemplate, so we are making this approach to you, as being someone who has the welfare of Fordingbridge at heart, asking you to think whether you can suggest anybody who might be willing to consider the role,” said Janet.

“We need people who recognise that being a trustee is not a sinecure and who will bring community commitment and vocational experience to working for Avonway.”

She added: “I reiterate; this situation is serious. If no new individuals are forthcoming who are willing to take on the future of the Association, or if no alternative method of running the community centre can be found, then there will be no alternative but to wind up the charity and close Avonway. Given the current uncertainty we cannot confirm any bookings beyond 24 May.”

The pandemic has hampered efforts to find new trustees. A new treasure is needed by April 1to allow for a seamless transfer of responsibilities.

Avonway hosts lunch clubs as well as various groups in the town.

Janet said: “Our constitution provides for user groups to appoint Trustees to share in the running of the Community Centre but none has been appointed for more than a decade, so now we need both to appeal to users to contribute again and to cast our net wider in order to secure the future of Avonway.”

A potential treasurer does not have to be a qualified accountant as we retain an accounting company to oversee our End of Year Accounts but the candidate would already know, or be willing to learn, QuickBooks and certainly needs some appropriate business understanding. We have a computerised booking system and plan to employ an assistant to deal with day to day financial administration but have delayed appointing in order to allow the incoming Treasurer to have a hand in selection.

Those interested in becoming a trustee email for more information. Discussions with current trustees can also be arranged.