Fears for Rushden club’s future as membership falls

Alan Brown, 66, from Rushden has been going to the over-50s club at the Pemberton Centre for a year-and-a-half and has seen the number of people using the club regularly drop from about 30 to 15 and sometimes fewer

Alan Brown, 66, from Rushden has been going to the over-50s club at the Pemberton Centre for a year-and-a-half and has seen the number of people using the club regularly drop from about 30 to 15 and sometimes fewer

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A man who uses an over-55s club in Rushden has been reassured that the club will remain open despite a drop in the number of people using it.,.

Alan Brown, 66, from Rushden has been going to the over-55s club at the Pemberton Centre for a year-and-a-half and has seen the number of people using the club regularly drop from about 30 to 15 and sometimes fewer.

Mr Brown said he thinks the fall could be due to the club being advertised while the Pemberton Centre was being refurbished.

He said: “I think it was a bit of mismanagement really. They advertised the club while the centre was being refurbished and people came but the club could only offer a fraction of what it is so they didn’t come back.

“It was obviously silly to advertise it when the club was a dead duck in the water.

“Perhaps they have spent all their advertising money, but it would be good to do it now when the centre is fully open to give the club a bit of a boost.”

The club runs every Thursday afternoon and costs £3. Mr Brown said: “It’s excellent value. They provide tea and coffee and put on things like badminton, table tennis, bowls and archery.

“For your £3 you also get 20 minutes in the gym, which is excellent when you think how expensive gym membership is.

“All credit to the council for subsidising the club, but I’m not stupid I can see the numbers don’t add up. Sometimes there are only six people there and two members of staff.

“When I started there were regularly 25 people and more, and everyone got on great and I made loads of new friends.

“The staff are fantastic, they go over and above for the people who go and the users really appreciate it and look forward to going. Some of them don’t go to anything else during the week.

“One gentleman gets the bus from Raunds every Thursday to come to the club and he says he wishes it was on more often.

“There aren’t many over-50s clubs in Rushden so it would be a shame if it did close. It keeps people active too, which is good. People who initially think the gym isn’t for them go up there and give it a go and try it out, and it’s good for them.

“We haven’t been told that the club will close and the council have been fantastic with what they’ve offered, especially by giving 20 minutes in the gym, but I think the club needs a bit of a boost.”

However, a spokesman for Aspirations Wellbeing, which runs the over-50s club on behalf of East Northamptonshire Council, said there were no plans to close it. The spokesman said: “There are no plans to close the over-55s club because it is well attended and appreciated by its members. If anyone else would like to join, they can find details on the Aspirations website www.aspirationswelbeing.org.uk or ask at any of the centres.”