Community centre hopes in Leiston
COUNCILLORS are hoping revamped community facilities in Leiston will become a new social centre for the town.Leiston town council took over responsibility for what was Leiston Day Centre in Sizewell Road last year and is now close to completing work on a new £4,700 kitchen for it.
COUNCILLORS are hoping revamped community facilities in Leiston will become a new social centre for the town.
Leiston town council took over responsibility for what was Leiston Day Centre in Sizewell Road last year and is now close to completing work on a new £4,700 kitchen for it.
The refit has been funded through Suffolk County Councillor Joan Girling's locality budget.
Although historically it has been used mainly by pensioner groups, the town council wants to widen its appeal, and is re-naming it Leiston Community Centre.
At the same time, ambitious plans are in the pipeline for a large new community and health centre in the town centre, and a site has been earmarked opposite the Leiston Film Theatre.
The centre would include a range of services and facilities, including the town's GP surgery.
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The town council is currently in the process of raising the funds needed to carry out a feasibility study on the project, and is more than half way towards its £11,000 target.
But Mrs Girling pointed out that the proposals were in the early stages, and would not be ready for some years.
She argued there was a need to provide something for the town now, as well as in the future.
“I have actually had it said to me what are you spending the money here for if we are building a new centre,” she said.
“It could be up to ten years but I would hope three years time we are actually going to see something happening.
“This is the community centre at the moment. People have been struggling to provide services for elderly people here for the last five or ten years and it has to be up to standard.”
Town council chairman Frank Huxley added: “Why should they be penalised if we have something in the future?”
The centre is used by a number of groups, including the Leiston Day Club, which prepares meals for 42 pensioners, The Amber Club for local disabled people and The Rose and Sweet William club, a social club for pensioners.
“It will be lovely when it's finished – we can't wait,” said Ann Davis, one of a group of six regular volunteers who help serve up the lunches for Leiston Day Club.
Although in the past it had been under-used, town clerk John Rayner said they were now taking bookings for a number of events, including a New Year's Eve party.
Mrs Girling said once the community and health centre was built, one possibility was the Sizewell Road site could be sold. The question is due to be looked into as part of the feasibility study.