A CYBER-attack has left Bournemouth’s community centres without a website just as their clubs and courses approach a crucial time of year.
Visitors looking for information about what’s on at the centres receive only an error message or a pop-up box asking them to log in.
The shared website – at bournemouthcommunitycentres.co.uk – served Beaufort, Ensbury Park, Kinson, Moordown, Muscliff, Strouden Park and Townsend centres.
It is run by a webmaster out of the area, but with Bournemouth Borough Council advising the community associations.
Clubs and classes based at the town’s nine community centres are mostly taking a summer break but planning ways to attract new members in September. Although the council owns the community centre buildings, it no longer subsidises their activities, leaving cash-strapped community associations dependent on fundraising.
David Brown, chairman of Kinson Community Association and also a councillor in Poole, said the cyber-attack had been “damaging”.
“We have been receiving calls from people unable to find the information they are looking for because our website is down and we appear to have no chance of recovering it,” he said.
“It is damaging to our business not only because of the money and time which has been invested in the website, but as a small community charity we can ill afford the additional costs to make up for this.
“We are entering a busy time of year with many of the groups and classes at Kinson Community Centre starting new terms in September and we always expect lots of enquiries, so we are spending extra money on press advertising and leaflets, without a website address, to ensure people know how to contact us.”
He urged anyone interested in activities there to contact the office on 01202 572826.
Amanda Nicholls, assistant community liaison officer for Bournemouth council, said: “Unfortunately, the Bournemouth Community Centres website has been targeted by hackers and the incident has been reported to the police and the cybercrime unit.
“We ask that residents please remain careful of any emails they receive and to please contact their community centres direct if they require further information about centre activities. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. ”