Party marks Meadow Vale centre's revamp

August 03 2018

A PARTY has been held to celebrate the reopening of a community centre in Speedwell following the completion of a £100,000 renovation.

Meadow Vale Community Association, which runs the centre, laid on games, music and food and even arranged for Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy to cut the cake to mark the official opening. 

Speaking at the event, Fiona Russell, chair of Meadow Vale Community Association, said: "Today was to celebrate the refurbishment of the community centre which cost around £95,000 most of it raised by the Rotary Club of Bristol.

"Ibstock Quarry also gave us some money to refurbish the kitchen and some towards the building. I’d like to thank Rotary for all the help they have given us both with the refurbishment and today."

The building has had a new floor, roof, electrics, kitchen, doors and windows and the exterior has been rendered.

Fiona said she intends to encourage the elderly to come and use the community centre in order to help give them more opportunities to socialise and help reduce loneliness and isolation.

Jim Currie, president of the Rotary Club of Bristol, said: "It’s our 100th year and we wanted to do something to benefit the community of Bristol and decided that Meadow Vale would be a great project to support. 

"We’ve been involved now for about 18 months. Rotary raised about £26,000 in events that we have organised. The John James foundation chipped in £5,500 and quite a lot of the money was given to us by the environmental charity Innovate and Ibstock Quarry. 

"We’d like to stay involved now. It’s not much good having this building if then no one uses it. So hopefully everyone involved is going to create some sense of the community wanting to do things here."

He explained that the club would continue to support events at the community centre and would help raise money for particular community development projects on an adhoc basis. 

Now that the refurbishment is complete, the community association is looking forward to phase two which is expected to include building a new sports hall and using the existing community centre building as a café.

"We have full planning permission for phase two," said Fiona. "This will give us the room to play badminton or have a reasonably sized community fair without it being too crowded. We could even have concerts.

"At the moment everyone has to leave the area in order to do things. A lot of the groups that start here end up moving on to bigger venues – by having a bigger community centre we can make sure that they stay in our area and this should make it even more of a community hub."

The new centre is expected to cost around £1 million and will require significant further funding. The community association has already begun to reduce the centre’s running costs by becoming more efficient – for example, by installing LED lighting. 

Kerry McCarthy said: "It’s been a lovely day and it has been good to see something happening in a part of the community where there aren’t that many facilities. 

"I’d like to pay tribute to all the people that have volunteered to help make the renovation and today’s event a success. We now need to build on this success and try to do more here."