Community centre to open after major refurbishment
THE Exeter Community Centre will be officially opened on Monday, September 24 after "eight years of hard work".
It was transferred in 2010 by Devon County Council to the Exeter Community Centre Trust Ltd – the first such freehold transfer in the country.
The transfer was made possible by the Department for Communities and Local Government Communitybuilders Fund which helps fund the regeneration of disused or under-used buildings to provide new facilities run and managed by the community.
The building, which is near the Iron Bridge, has been a facility for voluntary and community groups across the city since 1965.
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Chairman of trustees, Hannah Reynolds, said: "It took eight long years of negotiations and fundraising to acquire the building and refurbish it. It's down to the dedication and commitment of residents that we didn't give up, even when we discovered major building issues that delayed the project a year, and despite three thefts of lead from the roof which left it leaking like a sieve while we raised more money to replace it. It's cost £1.6 million of grants and loans – but it's worth it."
The funding and refurbishment brings the building back into full use as a social enterprise, providing a community hub for organisations, including The Global Centre, Refugee Support Group, YMCA offices, Farms for City Children, and new facilities for health and leisure including Community Acupuncture, Healthy Living Therapies, Yoga and Martial Arts. The Mulberry Tree Cafe has also opened in the centre.