AMERSHAM Road Youth and Community Centre (ARYCC) is to be renamed The Weller Centre in honour of a local postman who died earlier this year.
Local households voted for the new name of the centre, which is currently undergoing a major renovation, in honour of Caversham resident Martin Weller who was a familiar face in the Amersham Road area.
The centre closed in March for a £540,000 extension and refurbishment and is due to re-open in autumn 2017. Residents were invited to choose a new name for the centre when it reopens.
Mr Weller attended The Hill Primary School and Highdown School and joined Royal Mail when he was 18-years-old. He would always give a wave and a smile as he delivered the post along Amersham Road whatever the weather. Mr Weller was an active volunteer with Caversham Children’s Fund, a resident-led group on the Amersham Road Estate that hosts activities for children aged 5 – 11 and their families. In his spare time, he loved music, especially reggae, and could be found DJ’ing at local bars and at family discos at the centre on Amersham Road.
Mr Weller’s widow Carol said:
“We are touched and so pleased that the community thought so much of Martin that they would want to use his name for the centre. It’s truly an honour for Martin, our family and friends. Thank you all for doing this in his memory.”
Cllr Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Member for Neighbourhoods, said:
“It is fitting that the new community centre will carry the name of someone who was so special to the people in the area.
“Mr Weller will be remembered for years to come as people enjoy using the fabulous modern building for a wide range of activities.”
Deborah Jenkins, Chair of the Earley Charity’s Community Development Committee, said:
“The Earley Charity has high expectations that the Weller Centre will be all about looking out and caring for neighbours and providing a safe place for people to meet, learn and have fun together – things that were important to Mr Weller.
“In choosing to remember Martin in this way, the people of Amersham Road have also set down their hopes for the centre in an evocative way.”
An innovative partnership between the Earley Charity (as funder and lessee), Catalyst Housing Association (as operator) and Reading Borough Council (as owner) will enable the old ARYCC to be transformed into one of the finest community centres in the area.
The Weller Centre will include a spacious lobby with reception desk, café with free Wi-Fi, and a space to host private events such as birthday parties. Access to the community garden will be improved and bicycle and buggy parking made available.