Community group left out in the cold after door to party venue is locked

The Larkfields Centre, High Barns, Ely.

The Larkfields Centre, High Barns, Ely. - Credit: Archant

A community group was forced to cancel its Christmas party at the last minute after discovering it had been locked out of its venue.

The Barns Community Voice had booked the Larkfield Centre, in High Barns, for Sunday but arrived to find the doors locked and the security system “impassable”.

Group members waited outside in the cold for more than an hour while calls were made to Cambridgeshire County Council to try and rectify the problem, but their efforts proved fruitless and organisers were forced to cancel.

The group lost £250 as a result of the incident and dozens of people were left disappointed.

Chairman of the group, John Grain said: “Our thanks go to those who put in so much effort to try and make this event happen, cooking and baking for the refreshments, preparing for the games and other activities, carloads of materials, all needed to make a party such a fun event.

“Also the local residents who contacted friends and neighbours to prevent them coming out in the cold for nothing. We as a group have taken a big financial hit – costs approaching £250 have been lost meaning rescheduling another event will be tough.”

Mr Grain said discussions were ongoing with management at the centre for a new part and vowed that that group would bounce back.

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He said “We have to come back from this - we owe the community a party.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: ““We apologise for the group not being able to enter the building and we understand how disappointing it was.

“The problem was caused by an error with the entry card. We know they wanted to hold it on that date but to show good Christmas spirit we have offered a free of charge alternative date and are looking at reducing some of our other charges for them as well. We want to work to help put on the party they were hoping for.”