A MUCH-LOVED community centre in Frinton faces closure in the New Year, it is feared.

Covid-related lockdowns and restrictions over the past year has hit hard at the Frinton Community Association (FCA) run centre, at Soken House in the Triangle Shopping Centre.

Membership is down by almost 50 per cent and with annual running costs approaching £100,000 the management team is appealing to all members – past and present – to help save it from closure.

The charity has provided social and leisure facilities to residents for 45 years and more than 20 groups currently use it for meetings and events, including for art workshops, dancing, bingo events, bridge, carpet bowls, keep fit classes, table tennis and Scrabble.

There is also regular live music, discos, quiz nights and table-top sales.

“Covid has hit us badly with lockdowns, limited openings and restrictions which have slashed our income from membership,” said Sue Small, president and chairman of the FCA.

“We’re not getting the support we desperately need from almost half the membership that we had before Covid.

“Financially, we’re on the brink and January – when members renew their annual membership – is make or break time.

"Currently we’ve got just under 650 members, but if we don’t reach at least 900 by the end of January we will have to close for good.”

The association said it has reluctantly been forced to increase the annual membership fee from £20 to £30 and each attendance fee from £2 to £3.

“The centre’s running costs continue to rise and we have some large-scale expenditure items so we have no alternative,” says Sue.

“Even raising the membership and attendance fees may not be enough to ensure the centre’s future.”

Sue said essential maintenance work is also needed urgently including replacing flooring, upgrading fire alarm systems and replacing the building’s original lift.

She said: “We’ve stayed afloat through various grants and furlough payments but with so many people not renewing their membership we’ve been pushed to the edge.

"We’re in big trouble and if we don’t get enough members through renewals we will go under."