£150,000 won for Hillfields Community Hub transformation
A PROJECT to transform the Hillfields Community Hub has taken a big step forward with the award of £150,000 in funding.
Hillfields Family and Community Trust, which runs the building formerly known as Hillfields Youth Centre, off Thicket Avenue, has secured £60,000 in funding from Sport England to refurbish the sports hall, above, and replace the roof.
And a further £90,000 from the Community Infrastructure Levy – money paid by developers who are building in the area – will pay for major improvements to the rest of the hub, including a new kitchen and lift, and refurbishing the main reception hall, below, including new carpets.
The building had been in decline before HC&FT took it over last year and the funding represents more than half the estimated £250,000 cost of completely refurbishing it.
Other work which also needs to be done includes renewing the toilets and restructuring internal rooms to create a bigger music studio.
The trust's plan to build new homes for social rent is also moving forward, and consultations with the community are likely to start in January.
A project manager has been taken on to work with trust co-manager Jan Ross to manage plans to build 10 new homes for rent on land near the hub, as well as developing a neighbourhood plan.
Jan, pictured below left with co-manager George Campbell-Touray, said the funding was "fantastic news," adding: "We will be starting the work to the hub hall some time in January, weather permitting.
"It is exciting and its going to look amazing!"
Hillfields ward councillor Anna Keen, who with colleague Craig Cheney is a trustee of the HC&FT, pitched for the £90,000 CIL money awarded to the trust.
She said: "We are absolutely thrilled that local people will be able to use this money directly for the community.
"It will begin a long-term programme of development.
"The hub already hosts a wide range of community groups and events – ranging from family parties to art courses.
"This money will allow the long-term development of both the hub and the surrounding area. Exciting times!"