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News » Charity

Call for Charity Commission to investigate Community Centre

Contributed by editor on Jun 26, 2007 - 11:56 PM

There are calls for the Hawkinge Community Centre Charity (HCCC) to be investigated after this year’s AGM was held without inviting members of the charity to the meeting.

At the 2005 AGM, despite assurances from trustee Trevor Johns, that villagers were members of the charity, they apparently still have no say in the management of £1.8million building and are not considered to be members by the trustees.

A leaked email to the stakeholders from Karen Raeburn Community Projects Adviser (Shepway), Community Action South East Kent (CASE), and minutes to meetings in April and May 2007 have been received by the Hawkinge Gazette and the Folkestone Herald village correspondent Colin Tearle.

In the email from Karen Raeburn it states: "We do not intend to invite people (to the 2007 AGM) other than trustees and stakeholders, since this would not seem appropriate when the centre is in such a crucial stage of development."

These documents prompted Mr Tearle to contact CASE.

The email was written after the 5 April 2007 meeting of the trustees and stakeholders. At that meeting the trustees told CASE, the AGM must take place in May and “they are of the opinion that nobody has signed up as a member, so they (the trustees) are in effect the only members."

Colin Tearle said he explained about the 2005 AGM to CASE in which trustee Trevor Johns told the meeting that there was no subscription for membership and gave the assurance that all the people over 18 in Hawkinge were members.

In view of these revelations, a meeting was hurriedly arranged between Mr Tearle, the Hawkinge Partnership (HP) and CASE to discuss whether the 2007 AGM was properly called and conducted within the charity’s constitution.

Apart from members not being invited, Mr Tearle said he raised the issue that the trustees were re-elected after being nominated and seconded en-block by representatives from CASE and the HP, who themselves are not members of the charity.

Both CASE and the HP agreed to speak to the trustees with a view to holding another AGM, but Mr Tearle has now received an email from Karen Raeburn to say the trustees have told her they are writing to the Charity Commission for advice on the membership.

The email continues: "There will therefore not be notification of an EGM and/or AGM at the current time."

A perplexed Mr Tearle said: “I find it curious how the charity is conducting itself. On the surface it appears the trustees are conducting their business with little or no regard for their own constitution or public statements made by themselves.

"Further to that I find it an anathema to hold an AGM, with finances that appear to be in such a fragile state that they are asking for public money to keep the centre open, yet they didn't even manage to produce any audited accounts for the meeting.

"This simply isn't good enough, and in my view the Charity Commission should be called in to investigate, and local government officers belonging to CASE, the Hawkinge Partnership and indeed the Parish Council should distance themselves from it until these matters have been resolved."

Parish Councillor Peter Smith is angry that members of the Hawkinge Community Centre were not invited to this year's AGM of the cash strapped charity.

He said: "I am upset that members were not invited to attend the AGM.

"Both myself and David Callahan applied to be members after the 2005 AGM. I also tried to become a trustee but was refused as they said the position had been filled immediately prior to the meeting, yet it was still raised on the agenda."

The Gazette has so far been unable to contact John Heasman, the Chairman of the HCCC for his comments on the story.


Time running out for American supper quiz

Contributed by editor on Apr 14, 2007 - 12:00 AM











TEL 01303 892732

(Please bring your own food & drink)

American supper quiz

Contributed by editor on Mar 28, 2007 - 12:00 AM











TEL 01303 892732

(Please bring your own food & drink)

Charity gives up fight for Leisuredrome

Contributed by editor on Mar 17, 2007 - 02:49 PM

It was revealed at Wednesday's Hawkinge Parish Council meeting (14 March) that the charity that wants to retain the Spitfire Leisuredrome have decided to give up their battle to save the building.

The Hawkinge Youth and Community Sports Council (HYCSC), who arranged a survey of the Spitfire Leisuredrome have come to the conclusion that it would not make economic sense to develop the building.

Cllr Keven Avery told the council that he had been speaking to the  HYCSC after they had contacted him.

According to the survey more than £100,000 would be needed to bring the venue up to the minimum standard required  Cllr Avery said.

The HYCSC have now conceded the parish council's position and want to enter into talks with them to see if there is another suitable venue in the village.

Councillors have agreed to this, and will  be entering into a dialogue with the charity to find the best way forward to utilise any monies from the disposal of the Leisuredrome site, which would benefit the youth and sports provision in the village.

HYCSC will now support the parish council's appeal against Shepway District Council's refusal to grant planning consent for residential accommodation on the Spitfire Leisuredrome site.

Founder member of the HYCSC Cllr Peter Smith was taken by surprise of the about turn by the charity but he told the Gazette he believes these discussions were just private meetings.

Lift art to support appeal

Contributed by editor on Mar 14, 2007 - 12:10 AM

Unique sketch to help lift fortunes

Dear Ed,

Quality photographic prints of the original sketch of the Leas Lift  wheel mechanism, drawn by Virginia of Folkestone, can
now be purchased.

All money raised from the sale of pictures is going towards the step-lift appeal fund.

The prices are as follows:

10.6” x 8”  £6.00

16” x 12” £15.00

Email us
if you wish to purchase a copy and help save the 1890 Step Lift Carriage.

Permission for reproduction has been given by the artist, Virginia.

Any readers wishing to contribute to this privately funded
charity - 1890 Leas lift step carriage restoration appeal group -  can make
donations to HSBC Bank account number 21433784, sort code 40-21-15.

Yours respectfully,

Robert Mouland 

(on behalf of the 1890 Leas Lift Carriage Restoration Appeal)

RSPCA branch in danger of closing

Contributed by editor on Feb 08, 2007 - 06:06 PM

A local RSPCA group has made an appeal for volunteers, and it says that if just a few people came forward to offer their services it could make a huge difference to animal welfare.

The branch in Dover is in danger of closing because of a lack of helpers and needs new members to join the committee.

People are also wanted to help with general administration and working in the shop, as well as volunteers to help with re-homing and fostering animals.

Anyone who wants to volunteer for the branch can contact Becky Blackmore on 01233 733482 or email

Still time to support Everest trek

Contributed by editor on Jan 30, 2007 - 10:07 PM

A book sale organised by Hawkinge resident, Linda Perry who is trekking to Everest Base Camp in October to support the Stroke Association charity, is being held in March, so there is still time to donate your books.

The sale is taking place on 3rd March between 10am and 2pm at Folkestone Methodist Church, 155 Sandgate Road, opposite the clock tower. There will be refreshments and a raffle. 

Linda has collected a good selection of all kinds of books, but would appreciate donations of books up until 2nd March.

Linda can be contacted by telephone, 01303 894233 or email

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