Lucky for some as bingo sessions find new home at Grimsby community centre
IT WAS a "full house" at a Grimsby community centre when bingo united two estates from the same ward.
St Martin's Action Group of the Nunsthorpe estate are now holding their weekly bingo sessions at the Grange Community Centre, after they were forced to hand over the keys of St Martin's Church Hall last Tuesday.
The move has been heralded as the start of a new era for the once-troubled residents' association – and group founder Debbie Hill says it is "onwards and upwards" from here.
She said: "We are still having all the fun we had at St Martin's Church Hall and we are still working in the same way. We are very grateful to be here and hopefully we will build a relationship with the people on the Grange.
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"It will bring the south ward closer together. We all live in the same area, where there is a shortage of activities to do. Hopefully, by working together, it will make things more positive for everyone."
As reported, St Martin's Action Group was set up in 2004 in St Martin's Church to provide activities for residents on the Nunsthorpe estate and to help turn their lives around.
It was behind the successful, but now defunct, Funhouse project, which received Government praise in 2005, with antisocial behaviour tsar Louise Casey describing those involved as national examples.
In 2008, the Funhouse closed down after running into difficulties, but Nunsthorpe Together, as St Martin's was known by that point, continued to hold community activities, such as bingo, there.
They were forced to leave the church hall after the Parochial Church Council (PCC) claimed it was owed £140,000 in unpaid rent and maintenance costs last week.
Some of the regular bingo players have stopped coming since the move, but Debbie is hopeful things will improve.
She continued: "It will take a bit of getting used to. It was like a home to a lot of people, but the St Martin's Action Group is back and it will be onwards and upwards from here.
"We have lots planned – who knows what the future might bring for us?"
And although it doesn't feel quite like home yet, Nunsthorpe residents who relied on the bingo sessions to socialise are determined to give it a go.
Helen Keningale, 69, has been going to the bingo since it started. She said: "I like it here and without the bingo, I wouldn't be able to go out. I don't like going too far at night, but they have arranged a taxi for me, so it is perfect."
Jackie Holmes, 62, and Rose Ling, 64, are avid bingo players.
Jackie said: "It doesn't feel like it is our own place yet, but we are very grateful to Grange Together and it is a nice building."
Rose added: "We don't feel at home here – after nine years it was like a family – but it is good of them."
Bingo classes are held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, from 7.30pm, and CJs Dance classes start on Saturday from noon to 2pm.