USERS of a community centre in Pickering which is threatened with closure are calling for a six-month reprieve to enable them to find alternative premises.

A meeting was held last Wednesday to discuss the future of the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) Centre in Pickering.

Users of the centre, in Hungate, have been told the centre is to close at the end of next month following a review of its sustainability.

The RVS Centre is used by a variety of groups and has many uses, including luncheon clubs, fundraising, coffee mornings, Next Steps, pilates, bingo and dominoes. It opened in 1967 as the Pickering Darby and Joan All-Day Club following fundraising by local people.

Daphne Bowes, who has helped run a luncheon club at the centre for 25 years, said about 40 people had attended the meeting along with representatives of the RVS.

“Unfortunately they weren’t able to answer all of our questions on the night so there is the possibility of them coming back at the beginning of March,” she said.

“We have also asked for an additional six months to give all the people who use the building the chance to find somewhere else if they RVS centre can’t be kept open.”

Daphne said one of the issues was that there wasn’t anywhere else in Pickering which offered the same parking facilities and disable access.

“We have around 30 people attending the luncheon club who are in their 80s and 90s so it is real headache trying to find somewhere else to run it which has the same facilities,” she said.

“Local people fought long and hard to raise the funds for the centre and now they are trying to close it.”

A spokesperson for Ryedale Lions, which also uses the RVS centre on a regular basis, said: “The majority of clients are aged or infirm thus the centre is a vital asset to the community due to its location, level access, disabled facilities and parking facilities.

"No other premises in Pickering can provide the same facilities in one place.”

No-one from the RVS was available for comment.