One of Suffolk’s largest villages

ELMSWELL - Blackbourne centre
ELMSWELL - Blackbourne centre

JUST a few months after it opened, the success of a £500,000 project that was 13-years in the making, is plain to see.

Groups young and old are revelling in the success of an long awaited extension to the Blackbourne communty centre in Elmswell.

ELMSWELL - Village Sign

ELMSWELL - Village Sign

The revamped building opened in June after the parish council took out a £250,000 low interest Government loan, and used £82,000 of its reserves.

The Elmswell Ammenities Association contibuted the remaining £175,000 – and the project was completed just days before the main contractor went into administration.

Peter Dow who is parish clerk said: “ The success is incredible.

“Bookings in the first few months are up by 50 percent.

ELMSWELL - Railway Station

ELMSWELL - Railway Station

“It is now being used by the guides, by yoga classes, zumba classes, keep fit classes, as well as lots of corporate bookings.

“It is bringing in money from outside the village.

“ It is a very impressive building. In terms of design and value for money we have done really well.”

One of the key features Mr Dow speaks most proud of is a £70,000 ground source heat pump.

“When you come in and it is as warm as toast and you think to yourself the electricity bill is only £1 a day you think bloody hell that’s good,” he said.

The Blackbourne now boasts a huge activity hall roughly the size of two badminton courts, as well as a Baden Powell room specifically designed for use by scouts and brownies.

There is also an Olympic room which is dedicated to the youth club and storage room for groups to keep equipment.

“The whole thing has been designed with children in mind.

“They come in rush around and play to their hearts content. They love it,” Mr Dow said.

He said the building had given the capacity to many of the village groups to grow, while there are facilities for the football club and cricket team.

“We have got the Suffolk small business association booking their annual meeting.

“It is gradually getting a name for being central, accessible, incredibly well maintained and user friendly,” Mr Dow said.

For bookings ring 01359 244134