‘Our community needs this building,’ say local parents, as national charity sells former community centre.

An independent group of Herefordshire school parents and local residents are campaigning for the Royal Voluntary Service to keep in line with their values of community support when deciding who the new owners of the building on Vicarage road will be. The campaign is gathering traction with over 300 votes from residents and support from local councillor Jeremy Milln. There is an opportunity to use some of the building and grounds to expand space for St. James School on to the adjoining former vicarage site. However having secured over £1m in public grants to improve the old vicarage, its owners, the Royal Voluntary Service, have decided to sell the site on the open market.

“One of the interested parties is offering the school a nursery and gain much needed space,” explained Anna Layton, a St.James resident whose child attends St James school. “The RVS has an opportunity and a duty to leave a favourable foot print on this community and what better way than to support our children?”. Hereford charity, Vennture with the support of a local charitable trust have reached out to the school regarding the much-needed space with their bid.

The former vicarage was sold at auction in October 1963 to the then Women’s Voluntary Service for £5,100. The WVS used it as a much loved base for a Meals-on-Wheels service, a residential club, clothing store and space for the local scout troop. In 2004 the charity received £1m of public money to turn the building into the state-of-the-art Riverside Community Centre complete with a purpose-built nursery, office accommodation and commercial kitchen. But the Riverside was gradually run down and eventually closed.

The prestigious riverside property is on the market with Sunderlands estate agents with “offers upwards of £500,000”.

To find out more about the space for St.James campaign please http://spaceforstjames.org/ or www.facebook.com/spaceforstjames