Search

Rent hike is a huge weight on our shoulders

PUBLISHED: 16:27 27 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:12 25 August 2010

IN THE RED: Len and Yvonne Arnold

IN THE RED: Len and Yvonne Arnold

A COUPLE who sold their home to fund a community gym may be forced to close after their rent nearly doubled.

A COUPLE who sold their home to fund a community gym may be forced to close after their rent nearly doubled.

Len and Yvonne Arnold, who live in the Europa Gym, Fraser Road, Erith, could be forced to close down after their rent increased this month by £25,000, to £55,000-a-year.

The rent was hiked up after new land owners took over and conducted a review.

The 16-year-old gym, which has weightlifting, gymnastic, boxing, akido, judo and dance facilities, is used by 1,300 children from the area.

The couple who sold their house six years ago and moved into the gym said they would be 'gutted' if it closed as it is a "massive part of the community".

Mr Arnold, 53, a former amateur footballer said: "I am not a bleeding heart liberal but most problems with kids arise out of boredom. Kids can't play in the streets anymore.

"It will not cure all the ills but goes some way to it.

"The gym gets them associated with something. As they get older, a lot of the kids become good coaches.

"More of the pull is people being involved, not just getting to the Olympics."

But the gym can boast scores of Olympics hopefuls.

Zoe Smith and Jack Oliver, both 15, are the next weightlifting hopefuls for Great Britain in the London 2012 Olympics.

There are also teenagers at the gym who have their eye on the 2012 gymnastics and boxing squads.

But the gym does not qualify for lottery funding as their lease is not long enough and a spokesperson for Bexley council confirmed they were helping the couple look for another location in the borough.

Mr Arnold said: "95 per cent of our membership is youngsters.

"There is no formal type of funding for venues which are aimed at youngsters. In two years, our rent will increase by another £20,000 and that is when it is going to close, if nothing changes.

0 comments

Latest Bexley news

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Kent head coach Matt Walker was disappointed to see his side outplayed by County Championship Division Two title rivals Warwickshire on day one of their match at Edgbaston.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A man from Bexley who was in a band in the 1960s last month had his dream come true when his former band members reunited to play at a charity dance.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Warwickshire took huge strides towards the Specsavers County Championship Division Two title by totally dominating the opening day against rivals Kent at Edgbaston.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Officers are appealing for information following an assault in Albany Park station.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The most popular names given to baby boys and girls last year in East London suggests that where you live could influence what name you choose for your child.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Bexleyheath based big cat keeper and author, Martin Hill, has released another picture book about the relationship between three young big cats.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Kent travel to Birmingham for their Specsavers County Championship Division Two title showdown with Warwickshire starting on Monday.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

Most read news

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Bexley Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Bexley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24