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Elderly exercise group forced out

Posted on February 27 2017 at 12:26:17

The mobility class

A group of elderly villagers who attend a weekly mobility class have been forced to move from their original venue after it started charging for hire of the room.

The class used to meet in the community room at the Buckleys Green sheltered housing complex in Alvechurch – but now Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT), which operates the facility, is charging £16 per hour for use of the room.

Participants in the class pay a nominal fee towards the cost of an instructor provided by Bromsgrove District Council’s Sports Development scheme, but the new hire charge means the class has had to move elsewhere as the council is unable to meet the extra cost.

The group now meets in the committee room at Alvechurch Village Hall, which is too small for their needs and means that some members are no longer able to attend.

Ken Wheatley, a disabled resident at Buckleys Green, came up with the idea for the class in 2008 and asked the council to make it happen. As a resident, he had free access to the community room – but now BDHT insists it must charge all groups for hire of rooms at its housing schemes.

Ken asked village MP Sajid Javid to intervene, but he was told by BDHT that the hire charge is only to cover costs and is consistently applied to groups using its facilities.

However, Bromsgrove District Council confirmed to The Village that BDHT does not charge a hire fee for council-led mobility classes at its housing schemes in Charford and Sidemoor.

The Village contacted BDHT but had not received a response as we went to press.

Above: Ken Wheatley (centre) with fellow class members at Alvechurch Village Hall.

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