140-year-old community centre reopens after £60,000 refurbishment

The finished corridor at Greatham Village Community Centre. Picture by FRANK REID
The finished corridor at Greatham Village Community Centre. Picture by FRANK REID
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A well-used community hub has re-opened after three months following a much-needed refurbishment.

Greatham Community Centre, which is almost 140 years old, suffered from leaky roofs and chilly rooms.

It is dry and warm now and the roof isn’t leaking anymore

Bob Emerson, Greatham Community Centre trustee

But the focal point of the community is open for business again following a £60,000 refurbishment.

The funding included a £47,608 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Local councillors, community groups and members of the public were invited to see the results of the work during a celebration on Friday afternoon.

Bob Emerson, a trustee of Greatham Community Association, which runs the centre, said: “It is dry and warm now and the roof isn’t leaking anymore.

“I think the work has made the centre more attractive to other potential users and hopefully it has given us another 100 years.

“A lot of groups have contributed to the modernisation and today is a thank you to the people who have been kept out for the last three months while the work has been carried out and to those who supported us with donations.”

Guests were treated to a buffet before the whole community was invited in to see the new-look centre, which was built in 1878.

It has been given a new roof and heating system and parts of the inside have been redecorated.

The centre is used by a wide variety of community groups including a parent and toddler group, a youth club, exercise and dance classes, and flower arranging classes, as well as for concerts, pantomimes and other performances, meetings and private parties.

Paul Taylor, Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, said: “Centres like this one play a vital role in our communities, providing a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can meet up and access important activities and services.”

Community centre treasurer Brian Walker said fundraising is ongoing as further improvements are needed including new windows and toilets.