Keys handed over for community centre '10 years in the making'

Andrew Morris of Ashe Group presents a symbolic key to the New Bury Community Centre to Yvonne Galloway

Andrew Morris of Ashe Group presents a symbolic key to the New Bury Community Centre to Yvonne Galloway watched on by representatives of West Suffolk Council, Keepmoat Homes, past members of the Newbury Community Centre Association and new trustees. Sat at the front are Valerie Cownley, Ernie Broom and Barbara Bannister - Credit: West Suffolk Council

A newly-built multi-million-pound community centre in west Suffolk will be fully open in January.

Shaped by the community and delivered through housing developer funding and a Government grant, the handover of the New Bury centre in Bury St Edmunds to community trustees completes an ambition years in the making.

The new community centre has been built on the site of the former Howard Primary School, which was owned by Suffolk County Council.

It has been and paid for and delivered as part of a new Keepmoat Homes development of 79 new homes, alongside other developer contributions and a £670,000 grant from the Government’s Land Release Fund.

The building will also house the Carousel Children’s Centre and a new medical room for community health uses.

The old Newbury Community Centre in St Olaves Road, Bury St Edmunds

The old Newbury Community Centre in St Olaves Road, Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Archant

The keys were formally handed to community trustees on Monday, December 6.

Barbara Bannister, who has stepped down as chairperson of the New Bury Community Association (NBCA) which has led the project, said: "This is a momentous day, and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved, not just the association, but all those in the community who took part in the engagement events.

"It has shaped this new centre which we hope will see many weddings, birthdays and other special occasions, and be used by a wealth of groups and organisations catering for people of all ages."

A new set of trustees from the local community will take on the new community centre.

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Yvonne Galloway, the new chairperson of the NBCA, said: “The new centre looks fantastic. It is so much bigger than the previous one and will be able to offer the community a lot more.

"We have the Carousel children's centre in the building, the NHS will have a clinic room, there are large and small halls to hire and a large communal hub.

"Some activities and bookings from the old centre such as Upbeat Heart Support, Bury St Edmunds Presbyterian Church and the over-60s club are already holding their sessions in the new centre and seem delighted with the new venue and are helping us to ensure everything is working as expected ahead of our official opening next month.

"We are looking forward to the centre being fully open in early January with several new hirers already booked in."

Councillor Paul Hopfensperger at the build

Councillor Paul Hopfensperger at the build - Credit: Paul Hopfensperger

She said there were facilities for a social club and café - although the association will not be running these they welcome any enquiries from groups in the community who wish to set one up.

The work of the NBCA on the project has been supported throughout by West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council, with also an input from Havebury Housing Partnership in its early stages. 

Local ward councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who has been heavily involved in the project since its inception, said: “This day has been 10 years in the making.

"I am delighted for Barbara, Ernie Broom, Gordon Macintyre and for all those that have given their views and input into delivering this wonderful new centre which has been shaped by the community, for the community.

"I am extremely proud to have been a part of it. The legacy of the NBCA [New Bury Community Association] will now be carried forward by a new group of trustees and I would simply encourage everyone in the local community to get involved in their centre.”

The redevelopment was led by Keepmoat Homes while Ashe Construction built the new community centre on behalf of Keepmoat Homes.

It is hoped there will be an open day at the centre in January. Check out the Facebook page and website