A royal award for stalwarts of Hope Centre

Sandra and Steve Ellis outside St Hilda's Community Hall, Thurnscoe. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Sandra and Steve Ellis outside St Hilda's Community Hall, Thurnscoe. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
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A COMMUNITY group’s trustees will receive a royal award this month, for their success in uniting villagers of all ages.

The Hope Centre Committee will be presented with the Duke of York community initiative award by HRH Prince Andrew, at a ceremony.

Committee stalwarts Steve and Sandra Ellis were delighted, despite a bust-up that has just seen the Thurnscoe-based group move venue for the second time.

The Hope Centre Committee fought a long hard battle to save its original premises at Houghton Road Methodist Church, that has now been demolished.

It then moved from its second home at Houghton Road Community Centre last month.

A rent rise was one factor that forced the move to St Hilda’s in Hanover Street.

Steve and Sandra said they resented an increase of £2 an hour at Houghton Road Centre, from £7 to £9, and disagreed with some spends by Berneslai Homes - the arms-length management company in charge of the building.

Sandra told the Times: “It’s been a trauma. Elderly residents sobbed when they pulled the old Hope Centre down. Now we’ve had to uproot everyone again.

“We will be at St Hilda’s from 10am to 1pm every Friday for the coffee morning, along with the Little Hopefuls support group. The Saturday morning playgroup will run at the usual time. All the groups are well attended and we can only apologise to our members for yet another move we feel we were forced to make.”

The news of their award was bitter-sweet, in light of recent events, the couple said.

Sandra, 58, of Whinside Crescent, Thurnscoe, said: “It’s a welcome recognition of a joint achievement and teamwork.”

Houghton Road Community Centre is managed under lease by a volunteer management committee.

The centre manager declined to comment.