A charity run flagship community centre in Bury St Edmunds threw open its doors to the public, local residents, guests and dignitaries to celebrate the completion of a two-year refurbishment and redecoration project.
Southgate Community Centre, on the Nowton Estate, was built four decades years ago and its assets and activities were transferred to the Southgate Community Partnership charity in October 2011. The centre is the hub of the local community with some 30 different groups and over 300 visitors using its facilities each week as well as hosting Southgate Church, on a Sunday.
Dedicated voluntary Trustees have held paint parties to completely redecorate the halls and interior of the building.
Thanks to generous grants from the Bury St Edmunds Town Council and locality funding from St Edmundsbury Borough councillors significant improvement work has taken place to improve the environment and ambience for hirers.
First on the agenda was to replace 150 ageing and uncomfortable plastic chairs then the sanding of the main hall floor and painting over the stained dark ceiling. Next was replacement of the tiled and linoleum floors in the small hall and atrium area, but the main transformation has been new light weight London Wall partition doors and brand new coffee bar and kitchen area.
Chairman of Trustees Andy Abbott was enthusiastic about the new look Community Centre: “When I was elected chairman two years ago I attended the church and the first thing I saw was one of the old decrepit chairs collapsing and depositing it’s owner on the floor.
“I went cap in hand to the Town Council and by the weekend was driving a hire van to Peterborough with funding to purchase new banqueting chairs. Since then we have not stood still as the more you improve then the more seems to need to be done.
“We are hugely thankful to the Town Council for their amazing support and funding without which a lot of this work would not be financially viable. Also our local councillors Sarah Stamp, Patrick Chung, Ann Williamson and Richard Rout who all are, or have been, Trustees and support the initiatives with their locality funding”.
The open afternoon and thank you event celebrated the refurbishment and Town Council Chairman Andrew Speed and Town Clerk Greg Luton cut a celebration cake with local trades that had worked on the projects, Trustees and guests present.
Mayor and Mayoress of St Edmundsbury Terry and Vivienne Clements presented a cheque for over £760 to Sue Smith and Sally Daniels from the West Suffolk MyWiSH Charity for is Every Heart Matters appeal, the proceeds from the Valentine’s Ball at the Community Centre in February.