Long running Ely club closes

A POPULAR Ely club that has been running for more almost 30 years is to close because of a lack of volunteers.

The Ely and District Stroke Club was set up in 1983 to offer stroke sufferers and their carers an opportunity to socialise and enjoy day trips but a lack of support from volunteers means the group has been forced to close.

Many of the 37 members will now miss out on the vital support provided by the group, while some of the more mobile members will be forced to travel to Downham Market or Newmarket for an alternative club.

Club secretary Paula Gower, said: “The reason the club is having to close is not because of a lack of funding it’s because of a lack of support, sadly both inside and outside of the club. Nobody was willing to take the positions of chairperson or secretary on.

“We both deeply regret what we have had to do but two people cannot do it forever, it is too much for us now.”

The club, which is based in St Mary’s Street, recently received a �10,000 grant as a part of the National Lottery’s Awards for All initiative which saw more than �300,000 handed out to community groups across East Anglia.

The club, which runs fortnightly at Bedford House, had 37 members who were

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brought into the city using the Dial-a-Ride service from villages across the district.

Club chairman Irene Coulson, said the money remaining in the club accounts was to be divided equally between both the Downham Market and Newmarket stroke clubs, which are set to receive �6,000 each.

“While it is sad that we have had to do this, I’m sure the two groups will be delighted with the money,” said Mrs Coulson.

The stroke club is just one of a number of groups that has struggled to find volunteers in recent years, with a scout group in Sutton recently announcing it was also facing closure unless more volunteers were prepared to come forward and offer their time.