A CELEBRATION event has been held to mark the first anniversary of Southcote Community Hub.
The building in Coronation Square has become a focus for local residents with a combination of Council services and community activity space all under one roof.
The old centre building was expanded and transformed in a £550,000 project in 2018 and has become home to a number of local organisations, Southcote Library and a Children’s Centre run by Brighter Futures for Children.
Members of the community, councillors and providers and users of the services gathered to mark the first anniversary of the hub’s opening on Tuesday 29th October.
The 1960s-built centre benefitted from a single-storey side extension which incorporates a new main entrance with a reception desk, a generous sized entrance lobby and library space. The library has had 20,000 visitors over the last year.
The hub also contains a multi-purpose room used by groups and organisations, including New Directions College to provide IT, maths and English classes, and by Southcote IT Experience (SITE).
Internal remodelling of the building included the removal of some partition walls, creation of more storage space and a tea point in the hall. The main kitchen also underwent a re-fit, the main hall has a new floor and the lighting and heating systems were upgraded.
Other activities hosted by the hub include coffee mornings, a games club and book club in the library; bingo, Tai Chi, acupuncture and dance school in the main hall, Southcote Sprouts toddler group and Pearls & Diamonds youth activity, meetings of the Southcote Safe Neighbourhood Forum and a number of drop-in sessions at the Children’s Centre.
Details of activities can be found by popping into the hub, checking the websites of the individual organisations and on the Reading Services Guide website at http://servicesguide.reading.gov.uk/kb5/reading/directory/home.page.
Cllr Sophia James, Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said:
“I am so pleased that Southcote Community Hub is proving to be such a great facility for local residents.
“Families can make use of the Children’s Centre, visit the library and join in with community events all under one roof. Adult learners are also able to take advantage of the great courses run by New Directions.
“Reading’s community hubs are a great resource at the heart of their neighbourhoods and play a vital role in bringing people together and providing important public services.”
Annmarie Byrnes, of Southcote Community Association which uses the hub for a number of activities, said:
“I think it’s wonderful to have all our services under one roof. The centre is buzzing again with people of all ages dropping in to attend toddler groups run by the Children’s Centre and Southcote Community Association, coffee mornings at the library, educational courses led by New Directions and SITE and much more.”
The creation of the upgraded Southcote centre is part of the Council’s £2 million investment in community hubs which bring libraries, children’s centres and community facilities together in one place.
South Reading Community Hub celebrated its first anniversary in June this year and Battle Library reopened as a multi-use centre in September following a £400K transformation. Sun Street Community Centre will be closing for a renovation in November which will result in a more comprehensive range of Children’s Centre services delivered by Brighter Futures for Children and additional community space. The new improved centre is due to open in June 2020.