West Leeds Dispatch recently re-visited Swinnow Community Centre to see the unveiling of its internal refurbishment, and what this means for the community that uses it. Damon Sugden reports.
The project was on a tight deadline as the work needed to be completed before the start of the summer holidays and also minimise disruption to the centre.
Michael Flegg project manager for Corporate Properties Management (Leeds City Council) explained that they passed the project to LBS who appointed FSH to be the completion contractors.
Their team were credited with producing something of a miracle in such a short timeframe.
Yvonne Allman and her centre volunteers also worked incredibly hard – it was like DIY SOS in the end with everyone pitching in!
Together they clocked up long hours over three weeks, with some staying as late as 2am to ensure the centre was ready for its grand re-opening.
Yvonne Allman, centre manager for Swinnow Community Centre, said:
“It’s a busy centre but the refurb is going to be massive for us. First of all for the people that already use it, it’s going to look and feel better for them, because at the moment some of the service users only come in because of the groups and volunteers.
“But it wasn’t nice for them to sit in a place like this in that condition. But the refurbishment is going to be out of this world for us.”
Swinnow Community Centre has received the following improvements:
- Upgraded disabled accessibility
- Light fittings upgraded and made safe for indoor sport and recreation
- New ceilings
- Walls re-plastered and painted a new bright colour scheme
- Smoke and fire alarms replacedNew and refurbished flooringNew doors & furniture
- Disabled toilet being brought up to standard
“For me the service users will feel appreciated and feel more welcomed and it will be, well I’m too excited to even sit and tell you about it! Hopefully this will encourage even more service users (to use the centre).
“We always wanted the outside to be beautiful (which has been managed by the centre volunteers), and we want the inside to match now – and it’s going to happen.
“It’s all going to be fully accessible for everyone, it’s going to be ace! Hopefully next year when there are more finances about, we will get our kitchen and the other toilets updated as well. But other than that we can’t really ask for much more they’ve done us proud.”
Yvonne added that the work was something the centre had been pursuing for more than three years:
“The facilities we inherited felt outdated. There was a meeting last year but it didn’t go anywhere – but now there has been a big turnaround, it’s getting sorted and its brilliant.
“We’ve got a brand new committee and lots of volunteers, they are a cracking team. I don’t think you will get a harder-working bunch of volunteers – when new people come in they realise its like one big family.
“Fundraising, all hall hire and events go towards new furniture, the kids and elderly lunch clubs etc. We are non profit so everything gets ploughed back into the centre.
“The building is in use 7 days a week and open most nights till 9pm, sometimes 10:30pm – there is always something on for everybody 0 to 90s!
“Friday’s meals have up to 40 in one sitting, up to 100 meals are served during the course of the week, this makes a big difference to people.”
Councillors Mark Harrison, Simon Seary and Trish Smith (Cons, Pudsey) pushed everything, including extra bonus work. Coun Harrison negotiated on-site with the building team to acquire to some extra finishing touches for the project.
Anyone wishing to contribute, volunteer or book events at the centre can contact centre manager Yvonne Allman on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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