Oy Vey! Canvey Island Bingo Hall to Become a Synagogue

Home » Oy Vey! Canvey Island Bingo Hall to Become a Synagogue

For one Essex Bingo Hall, the shouts of ‘House' will be replaced by shouts of ‘Amen' after Canvey Island bingo hall has been sold to a group of Jewish families who intend to turn part of the building into a synagogue.

The Rio Bingo Hall in Canvey Island, Essex started life as a community cinema in the 1930s. The last film was shown in 1976, before being converted into a social club, which has been hosting bingo ever since.

However, like many bingo halls, the Rio felt the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns and struggled financially.

Bingo Hall Part Still Available to Rent

Sold through a commercial agent, a group of Jewish families purchased the building with the intention of converting the back part of the building into a Synagogue and renting out the front part which currently houses the bingo hall.

Joel Friedman, a spokesman for the Jewish community on Canvey Island, told the local press:

“As far as I know, the current owner sold it as the business was struggling. But it was sold through a commercial agent, which is how a new owner was found.


“It wasn’t like we approached the bingo hall. The agent was going around looking for someone to buy it.


“Every community has different needs, and for the Jewish community to be viable, there needs to be a local synagogue.


“With Sabbath, you can’t use transportation, so for the elderly and children there needs to be one within walking distance otherwise it becomes a problem.


“From my understanding, the building has parts to it. The main part and the dance room at the back which is not use.


“The new owners are looking to make the synagogue at the back part of the building.


“Then the front area will remain available to rent for anyone interested in using it.”


Canvey Island has become a hotspot for Britain's religious Jewish community and its growing community living harmoniously with the locals was featured in The documentary Canvey: The Promised Island. With news that the bingo hall part of the building will still be available to rent, there is hope that bingo on Canvey Island will live to fight another day. 

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