Newtown Community Association Launch New Community Centre
On Saturday 21st September the Newtown Community Association (NCA) hosted a grand opening event for its fabulous new community centre in Belmont Park.
Deputy Lord Mayor, Yolonda Henson, cut the ribbon to officially open the building which has been years in the making.
The family event showcased the many and various activities that regularly take place in the centre, including live music from the Newtown Choir and Roots Band.
The state-of-the-art building replaces a second world war horsa hut which had been serving as a community centre in the park since the 1980s, despite only being built to last a few years.
In 2010 it was recognised that the building was finally beginning to show its age. It was also limited in size of group that could be accommodated, had poor disability provision and it was expensive to heat!
A vision was developed by the then NCA Chair Ian Harrison and Robin Attwater, a sustainable technology designer whose mother lives in Newtown, to build an ambitious low energy and fit-for-purpose building for the community to use over the next 50 years.
A design was developed in consultation with local community members. Exeter City Council was immediately supportive and planning permission was granted in 2012.
The challenge then was to raise the necessary funding. Over the next 5 years, charitable funds were approached and whilst not successful initially, with significant contribution pledged by ECC, other contributors came on board and some help in kind offered too.
Under the leadership of the NCA Chair, Rory McNeile, a contract tender was run and jointly awarded to Fifields Construction and Allwood Timber in early 2018, both local companies, to start building in September 2018. The building was delivered on schedule and on budget. A principal factor contributing to the project coming in on budget was the 100s of hours given voluntarily by Rory, Steve Palmer, and other NCA members over the past 5 years.
The new building is already proving very popular and was heavily booked well in advance of the opening.
Bookings are welcomed from members of the local community, both for long-term activities and one-off occasions such as birthday parties. More information can be found at: www.NewtownCommunity.org.uk/bookings