Work Starts on Creating Southcote Community Hub

WORK on creating a multi-use community hub for Southcote is due to get under way next week.

The Southcote Community Centre building in Coronation Square is to be transformed to provide a modern library, children’s centre, play area and upgraded facilities for community use.

The £550,000 project will involve relocating Southcote Library into the community building.

Construction of a new extension to the 1960s-built centre will start on May 21st and will be followed by internal remodelling and improvements. The whole scheme should be complete by autumn 2018.

During this period the centre will be unable to take any new bookings. The Children’s Centre will continue to operate throughout the works.

The single-storey extension on the side of the existing community centre building will incorporate a new main entrance with a reception desk and generous entrance lobby, library space and a library store.

It will also house the multi-purpose/IT Training Room, which will allow the space that it currently occupies to be converted into additional library space.

The remodelling of the existing building will consist of the removal of some partition walls, replacement of the old curtain walling in the Main Hall and the construction of a new store and tea point in the hall.

A new external fire exit door will give access to a Communal Garden located at the front of the centre and an all-weather play surface will be provided adjacent to the building.

Stakeholders, community representatives and staff were all consulted on the designs for the new community hub.

Cllr Liz Terry, Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods, said:

“The new Southcote Community Hub will provide a more spacious and welcoming reception for customers, flexible spaces to accommodate diverse community activities, a contemporary library, a private meeting room and enhance the Children’s Centre.

“The centre will also include the IT Training room, improved outdoor space and better storage and kitchen facilities.

“Overall, the Southcote Community Hub will provide good quality community space for local groups and organisations combined with a range of important and popular local services all in one building.”

Southcote ward Cllr Deborah Edwards, Chair of Southcote IT Experience (SITE) and member of the Southcote Community Association (SCA), said: “Together with my fellow ward councillors John Ennis and Jason Brock and the members of the Southcote Community Association we are delighted the transformation of the Southcote Community Centre will start on 21st May.

“SITE and the SCA have plans to offer not only a range of courses and activities to add to the current programme but there will be new ones starting as soon as the work is completed.

“It’s an exciting future for the Southcote Community Hub.”

Notes to Editors

The Policy Committee approved plans to relocate library services in Southcote and south Reading to community hubs in July 2016 as part of the Council’s Library Service Review.

David Millward

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