Jobsworth council chiefs have been slammed after they banned pensioners from holding a fund-raising concert to save their community centre – unless they hire two bouncers.
Elderly residents organised the sing-song to collect cash and help keep the under-threat Goldenhill Community Hall in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., open.
But plans for the friendly get-together have been put on hold after “meddling” council officials ruled security was needed in case trouble flared.
Killjoy bosses at Stoke-on-Trent City Council said insurance would not cover the event because the OAPs wanted to put on a bar to boost funds.
Angry Alma Morris, 78, who came up with the idea to hold the event later this year, said paying the £100 needed for security would reduce any potential profits.
The former caretaker and council worker, from Sandyford, Staffs., fumed: “I don’t know what they think might happen in a room full of pensioners – it’s ludicrous.
“We just wanted to put on a nice night of singing until the council got involved.
“But instead we keep hitting a brick wall and it’s not fair.
“Some people like to have a drink at these things but there is certainly not going to be any binge-drinking going on.”
The decision has angered residents because the authority has pledged to support residents in their attempts to take over community halls.
But Alma, who has worked at the community centre for 11 years, said booking the venue would cost #120 before paying an extra #100 for security.
She added: “It is ridiculous and we just can’t pay that amount of money.
“It is coming straight out of people’s pockets and those security men will have the easiest shift ever.
“You can only do your best for the centre but it is a catch-22 situation.”
Another local who tried to book a 40th birthday party at the same community centre was also told he would need security.
Tom Simpson, 55, from Goldenhill in Stoke, said: “If they were organising drunken booze-ups then I could understand but not with fund-raising events like this one.
“I think the council needs to consider every event on merit and it is hard to fathom why they have to pay extra for security.
“The bar staff are already city council employees. I’m sure if there was a problem they would be capable of calling the police.
“We have never had anything like that happen before.”
Goldenhill Community Hall is one of 10 centres in the region under threat of closure to save the council £162,000-a-year.
Peter Price, the council’s resident director of services, said he would make a final decision on the security guards after looking over the profit and loss margin in the coming months.
He said: “I think the additional cost is going to deter people from booking the venue.
“It is almost double what it will cost for the hall and they are out-pricing themselves.”
Speaking about the closures, he added: “We need to establish whether community halls are going to be financially sustainable for the future.
“In times of financial hardship, the funding that we have as a city council will mean we have to go through some very difficult decisions.”
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