02:00PM, Thursday 09 February 2017
Dean Yorke, Jack Douglas and Pat Willis enjoy a drink at the centre.
New volunteers are being sought by a group that has taken over the Royal Voluntary Service Centre in York Road.
The Maidenhead Community Centre (MCC), a not-for-profit group that will run the service under the same name, hopes to attract new helpers and more people to take part in its activities.
It will provide yoga sessions, a watercolour class and fitness league, and a cafe and kitchen to offer refreshments.
Jack Douglas, one of the trustees of MCC, said: "We are always looking for new volunteers to help, especially qualified chefs, but our main need is just to get the word round that we are not closing. Thankfully most of those who run activities at the centre have stuck with us through the uncertainty. One or two found alternative venues and we hope to attract them back, but with our central location and the unique character of the centre, we also hope to bring in many more new activities that benefit the community.”
About 10 elderly people were at the centre on Tuesday, enjoying their lunch and having a chat as another trustee, Dean Yorke, helped with volunteering.
Hot meals are served two days a week by Klaus Hohenauer, 73, who lives in Oakhurst, and Peter Newitt, an ex RAF chef.
The centre hopes more chefs will come forward to volunteer to provide hot meals five days a week.
Pat Willis, a 73-year-old volunteer who began helping at the centre seven years ago and stayed on after MCC took over the service, said: “This is an important service. People can come in and have a coffee and meet their friends.”
She added: “I was very disappointed when I heard they wanted to close it. I wanted to do what I could to keep the centre going.”
It was announced in September that the Royal Voluntary Service might close the centre, which was making a loss.
It has been open as the Maidenhead Community Centre for three weeks, but its volunteers were keen to stress they wanted its facilities to be used by as many people as possible, old or young.
Gertrud Graham, an 87-year-old regular who visits by bus from Knowl Hill, started regularly attending three years ago.
She said she still came ‘once or twice a week for lunch’ and the centre had ‘changed’ in the three years but she was looking forward to seeing what the new management would do.
Visit www.maidenheadcentre.org.uk for details about events.
Pop in to the centre to ask about volunteering.
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