A COMMUNITY centre is closing after 34 years to become new classrooms for an expanding primary school.
Fatima Community Centre, in the White City Estate, has asked 14 groups to leave by the end of this month.
It is owned by nearby Our Lady of Fatima RC Church, which supports Pope John RC Primary School in Commonwealth Avenue, between the two sites.
The dated centre could be replaced with a two-storey block for classrooms and a nursery, so the school can increase by two-thirds to accommodate 450 pupils from September 2014 to 2020.
It would build a new Fatima Parish Centre next to the church, pending planning permission.
Headteacher Gillian Wickham said: “We’re absolutely delighted we’ll give more children the opportunity to join our school.
“When we did the planning, I was very conscious we’d be taking over the community hall and that has gone into the application. The local community will be able to use the new hall once it’s finished.”
The White City Youth Club is one of the groups struggling to find a new home in the meantime.
Eamonn O’Keeffe, 32, launched the club two years ago on behalf of the Harrow Club, which runs youth outreach schemes for Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
About 40 youngsters aged 13 to 19 meet three evenings a week to enjoy activities from cooking to sports, filmmaking and holiday camps.
The club could relocate to nearby Adventure Cafe, where a ‘community hub’ is emerging, with a junior youth club for eight to 13-year-olds and a toddler group already in place.
Although nothing has yet been agreed, Mr O’Keeffe, is remaining optimistic.
“Even if we have to do this on the streets, it will happen,” he said.
“I actually think it will be a positive thing to move out. It’s very negative we’re losing our home but after two years it’s time to reflect.
“We started a youth club from scratch and now we can look to the future and how we can get involved in the community.”
Harry Audley, chairman of White City Residents’ Association, said many properties on the estate such as council buildings, health centres and schools, are ‘seriously underused’, and could be utilised by vital community groups and projects. He said he was pressing the council to improve this.