SAD news as a much-loved community social and fitness club looks set to be demolished because it was too costly to repair.

Workmen have started reclaiming materials from The West Cumbria Community and Fitness Centre, in the grounds of St Benedict's RC Church, Whinlatter Road, Whitehaven. 

It is understood that the club became unusable a number of years ago after flooding. 
The building, formerly St Benedict's social club, is owned by the church.

Father Kevan Dorgan, the parish priest who has been at St Benedict's for about a month has confirmed that the building is to be knocked down.
Father Dorgan said: "At the moment it will probably be grassed over.

"I've only been here for about a month but I think the situation has been going on for a number of years.

"Because of the level of disrepair it looks like there is no option but to demolish it, it's very sad.

"I think that inside all the floors are rotten.

"In its day it sounds like it was a really good community resource - a little gold mine."

Councillor Brian O'Kane, mayor of Whitehaven, has also lamented the loss to residents.

He said: "The place has been a big loss to the community and was an essential component in Mirehouse, and the club, that was linked to the church was an essential focus for lots of things.

"It is very sad to see any facility in our area closed, especially things that benefits people's health around during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It's a real crying shame."

The community fitness centre was opened in 2007 with "state-of-the-art cardiovascular and weight-training equipment, as well as a boxing ring and bags".

According to The Whitehaven News at the time the centre was the: "Brainchild of local man Martin McMullan who has previously run small-scale weight-training groups on the estate.

He said: “I have always wanted a proper gym and fitness centre on Mirehouse.

"We need something for the young people, to keep them away from drugs and drink.”
"A local priest had approached Martin when the social club had been under the threat of demolition, to see if he could do something with it.

"Two years later, the building has been totally renovated and will include car parking space. It will be run as a social enterprise with any profits being ploughed back into the facilities and the community.

"The centre holds bingo sessions each Monday and Tuesday afternoons and Legs, Bums and Tums fitness classes at 5.45pm on Thursdays. The club already has 200 members."