WORK on creating a multi-use community hub in south Reading is now under way.
The builders have moved onto the site of South Reading Community Centre to transform it into an updated facility providing a library, children’s centre and community meeting spaces.
The new South Reading Community Hub will be a valuable resource for the Whitley area when it fully opens in June next year.
In the meantime, the community centre will remain open for the use of the nursery, children’s centre and café throughout the construction period.
A steering group, including local community representatives, has been working on plans for the centre in Northumberland Avenue, Whitley, and the feedback provided by local people has helped shape the final design.
The building alterations and improvement works taking place over the coming months will include:
· Relocating Whitley Library to the right hand side of the centre. The existing library will remain open until the work is complete
· Improving access and the building frontage, signage and forecourt
· Relocation and upgrade of the kitchen
· Improving the toilet facilities
· Modifying the youth centre and adding a new dedicated outdoor play area to enable the children’s centre to operate from this space during the day (including offering adult learning). This will make better use of the youth club and make the children’s centre more visible and provide a better space from which to run activities.
· Re-providing meeting space for hire to replace space lost to the library
· Providing a new office for shared use by Council staff and partners
Whitley Community Development Association, supported by the Council, has already funded works to improve the community cafe and social club they run, and extend the kitchen. This next phase of improvements will bring a number of services together under one roof.
Cllr Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods, said:
“I’m very excited about this project to create South Reading Community Hub which will be a great resource for people in the local area.
“By bringing the library, children’s centre and community facilities under one roof, residents will be able to access a wider range of services and support more easily. It also makes better use of public buildings and reduces running costs for the Council.
“Most importantly, the centre will continue to provide valuable space from which community groups and organisations will be able to deliver a range of activities for local people.”
The community centre will remain open while the building work takes place and measures will be in place to keep disruption to a minimum. Signage will give visitors clear instructions about appropriate access routes into and around the building during the construction period.