Mildenhall welcomes ‘fantastic’ new community centre

Official opening of the new St John's Community Centre. 'Cllr Andy Drummond, chair of Forest Heath District Council, cuts the ribbon with Keystone Trustee Clive Wadham-Smith ANL-150317-231948009
Official opening of the new St John's Community Centre. 'Cllr Andy Drummond, chair of Forest Heath District Council, cuts the ribbon with Keystone Trustee Clive Wadham-Smith ANL-150317-231948009
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A door was opened to new opportunities for Mildenhall residents this week with the official opening of a ‘fantastic’ community facility.

After a community open day earlier this month the new centre, in St John’s Close, officially opened its doors with a ceremony on Tuesday.

Official opening of new St John's Community Centre, in Mildenhall. Cllr Andy Drummond, chair of Forest Heath District Council, with Ketstone Trustee Clive Wadham-Smith ANL-150317-231731009

Official opening of new St John's Community Centre, in Mildenhall. Cllr Andy Drummond, chair of Forest Heath District Council, with Ketstone Trustee Clive Wadham-Smith ANL-150317-231731009

Built on the site of the former, dilapidated St John’s Community Centre, it was part of a £2.7 million scheme which also saw the construction of 18 affordable homes for Orbit East.

Residents joined representatives from Keystone Development Trust, the building’s managers, and Forest Heath District Council at the ceremony, where the ribbon was cut by Cllr Andy Drummond, district council chairman, and Clive Wadham-Smith, Keystone trustee.

Cllr Drummond, also a member of Forest Heath’s development control committee, said: “Two or three years ago we went to have a look around the old building, which had fallen into disrepair.

“It is great to attend the opening and see what was achieved over that period of time. It is far better than what was there before.

“For the people who live in this area of Mildenhall it is a fantastic facility. I just hope the community recognises what it has and uses it.

“The affordable homes, all for rent, are what we need in the town so that is absolutely superb.”

The new centre includes a large function room, smaller meeting space and youth room, as well as a kitchen and toilet facilities.

Cllr Drummond added: “I saw it and thought, you could really do a lot with this. It will be great for clubs, classes and other events.”

Leigh Driver, centre manager for Keystone, said an introductory room hire rate of £10 per hour, with a minimum two-hour hire period, will be in place for the first six months.

“It will hopefully encourage people to try out their ideas at the centre, working with us to develop the building into a really valuable community resource,” she said.

“The comments from all those who attended the recent preview event were overwhelmingly positive. Everyone loved the new facility, and the fantastic turnout proves just how much local people care.”