The Centre, or Community Association as it was commonly known, was started by a group of local well known community activists back in the 1970s. The origins and ideas for a community centre go back to 1973 when local stalwarts Mrs Beryl Lloyd, Joe Newton and Jenny Merrill got together and formed the New Brighton Community Group. All three were not only instrumental in its foundation but were also leading lights in the local community themselves, see notes below and archive gallery section. They were looking to find a home for a whole host of activities and projects that were started up by local residents. At first the group met in various houses and then established themselves in local churches and buildings for meetings. These included what is now the Dental Practice on the corner of Victoria Road and Rowson Street; eventually in 1981 the group found a permanent home at 1a Hope Street which to this day is known as the Community Centre. Since those early beginnings the Centre has undergone many changes both physically and personally. It was refurbished in 2001 with the help of capital grants from Government and local sources and a new section was added which included a new computer suite, additional toilets (including disabled provision) and a new lift to make the building much more accessible.
Mrs Beryl Lloyd: In 1974 at the formation of the then New Brighton Community Group when there was no money, no place to meet, yet under the inspiration of Mrs Lloyd the group kept together at meetings and the same lady persuaded the pastor of St Andrews (the old Methodist Church Hall) to let us meet in a church room were each member paid 10p to hold the meeting. From these humble steps the group strived forward to meeting at what is now the dental practice on the corner of Victoria Road before moving in to its present headquarters in Hope Street in 1981 which was the old Police station. Through all those early struggles Mrs Lloyd was a constant inspiration.
Mr Joe Newton: Joe was a genial character well known in the New Brighton area where he and his wife ran a newsagent's shop in Victoria Road. It was famous for its old postcards of the resort and situated next door to Mac's the shoe shop. Joe a former Policeman was also involved for many years in the old Wallasey Ratepayers Association which and I quote from a 1962 newsletter which promoted:
1. A service charge for cars parking on the promenade
2. Improve the railways facilities at New Brighton station.
3. Establishment of a hover-craft service
4. Stop the continual dredging of the sands
Joe eventually successfully stood for the Ratepayers Association becoming a councillor for in the area in the early 60s. His involvement and experience in the area was later to be put to such great effect with the formation of the New Brighton Community Association in the 70s. Joe will always be remembered for his expertise in guiding the Community Association through that difficult early period.
Mrs Jenny Merrill: Jenny served with distinction as the Treasurer for a grand 22 years in all, her common sense and cautious approach with the finances enabled the Association to achieve a degree of stability under her stewardship. Jenny's other community commitments included being the treasurer of the Wirral Play Council and running the Youth & Brownie groups at the Emmanuel Church Hall on nearby Seabank Road. Why don't you get involved in your Community? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details and more information!
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