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Give us more help or we’ll fold, warns TRA

STRUGGLING: Colin Priestley outside Bleak House. He is trying to get more people from the estate involved to stop thE tra dispanding.

STRUGGLING: Colin Priestley outside Bleak House. He is trying to get more people from the estate involved to stop thE tra dispanding.

A BATLEY residents’ group is on the brink of closure unless more people help out.

Popular children’s activities could vanish from the Wilton area if a stretched committee doesn’t get more support.

“I don’t want to disband but we simply cannot carry on as we are,” said Colin Priestley, chairman of Wilton Tenants and Residents’ Association.

He battles poor health to keep the group going. “I don’t want the children to suffer,” he said.

But he was disheartened when just two families turned up for the annual Christmas party and puts this down to not being able to leaflet the whole estate about the event.

“We usually let everyone know, but I wasn’t well and couldn’t get round the estate,” he said. “I took leaflets to the school, SureStart and shop instead.”

Normally, 10 to 15 families are at the party at Bleak House – where the TRA meets – and the committee had catered for that number. “We had to throw some food away,” said Mr Priestley. “But those who did come thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”

The tiny committee includes Mr Priestley’s daughter and son-in-law, Ann-Marie and Ian Littlewood. But they are both job-hunting and might have to bow out if they find work.

“If they go we will be down to the bare bones,” he said. “We will struggle, there is no two ways about it.”

The TRA has operated since the early 1970s, although it has disbanded once before. It runs a youth group, gardening club, street dance and has just bought a new cooker to start a cookery club.

“The things we put on are really appreciated, but there is simply not enough people to do the work,” said Mr Priestley, who is 58 and retired through ill-health.

Mr Priestley is at Bleak House most days. “I can manage the paperwork and fund-raising,” he said. “But I need help with the physical work.”

One of the Wilton parents warns: “This season’s Christmas party – which was a wonderful day – could be the last due to lack of interest. This is a shame and would be a massive setback for the estate. If people want things for their children to do, they need to get out and join in.”

Mr Priestley said: “Unless we get more help I will have to consider packing it in. I can’t carry on, my health just won’t allow it. But I am reluctant to disband for the children’s sake. I would crawl to Bleak House for them.”

Anyone who wants to help should contact Mr Priestley on 01924 445460.

 

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