A meeting was held in December 1947 regarding the establishment locally of a Non-Resident Social Centre or Club for old people.
It was decided that a Club should be formed and that its name should be “The Old People’s Social Centre” and that the Committee would consist of representatives of Local organisations.
Dawlish Urban District Council was approached and they offered part of The Hut Concert Hall (which was currently being used by the Food Office) as a meeting place when it came to be vacant for a payment of £1.00 per annum.
The Centre was opened on June 14th 1948 and the annual subscription was 2/- a year payable half yearly.
Rules were agreed and printed as follows;
- The club shall be Non-Sectarian and Non-Political.
- There shall be no indecent or abusive language.
- There shall be no drunkenness on the premises.
- Members shall in every part of their behaviour study the Comfort and Happiness of their fellow Members.
Club activities continued until notice was received from the Council in 1954 that the Hut Concert Hall was to be demolished. In June 1954 the Council offered the Centre a site in the Manor Grounds. Construction of a new Centre was started in October 1954 through voluntary labour by Members of the Toc H and The British Legion. A concrete pre-fabricated building was purchased by the Centre and the cost of erecting it was met by the Club.
During this time the Club was greatly indebted to the brothers Stan and Cyril Shorland who donated over £1,000 from the proceeds of Pantomimes they produced. Other good supporters of the Club over the years were Mr. & Mrs. Shepperd of the amusement fraternity.
The building was opened on 3rd March 1956.
In 1959 the Club became a Registered Charity – number 221305.
Mr. H. M. Way, who had been associated with the club for many years, was elected the Honorary Treasurer on November 10th 1975, a position he held until 2000.
At a committee Meeting held on 10th July 1978 a Resolution was passed that “owing to the falling off of Delegates from Local Organisations the Management Committee of the Centre should consist of elected Officers plus other Members from the club.
By 1999 the centre was in a bad state of repair and asbestos was found in the building. The committee formed a steering committee (Mrs June Collis, Mr Roger Honey, Mr Peter Sheldon, Mr Dave Saunders, Mr Hedley Way, Mrs Irene Greenhalgh and Mrs Valerie Forrester) to investigate the possibility of replacing the building. June Collis acted as liaison with Teignbridge – then began the task of fund raising. Dave Saunders from Teignbridge Council for Voluntary Services helped with the funding applications and the whole team worked extremely hard to raise the money for a new building.
Finally grants were received from:
|Help the Aged||£20,240|
|South West Rural Development Agency||£45,559|
Roger Honey took on the task of project treasurer and Valerie Forrester organised the purchasing of the furniture and fittings.
A ballot was held to decide on a name for the new Centre and the overwhelming result was that it should be named “The Hedley Way Centre” in recognition of his years of devoted service. By this time Hedley Way had taken over as Chairman – an office he continued to fill until his death in 2008 at the age of 97.
The new building was finally used for the first time on 17th August 2001 and was officially opened by The Right Reverend Michael Langrish Bishop of Exeter on 6th December 2001.
The weekly Club meeting is held on Wednesday afternoons. Activities include either a speaker, a demonstration, a slide show, a quiz, musical entertainment or some other kind of entertainment. A charge of £1.50 is made to include tea and biscuits. Occasional outings and lunches are also held.
The Centre is also used by the Club on Monday afternoons for Bingo. Non-members are welcome to attend.
A limited amount of transport is available to and from the Centre each Wednesday through the services of Dawlish Disability Transport.
Non-members and visitors are most welcome to attend these events which begin at 2.30 p.m. The current annual subscription as from 2015 is £6.00 per annum payable on 1st July. Associate members under the age of 60 are also welcome and pay the same membership fee.
In January 2017 following many incidents of vandalism and damage to the property, ownership was passed to Dawlish Town Council and the building was renamed THE RIVERSIDE CENTRE. The activities of the club – now renamed THE CENTRE CLUB – will continue as before. For further information contact secretary Liz Wedlake – 01626 863679 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Centre is available for hire and is regularly used by several local organisations.