COMMUNITY groups have now moved into a brand new centre which has been built in the middle of a housing estate.
Ascent, the joint partnership between Your Housing Group and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, has finished the new Haregate Community Centre in Horsecroft Crescent, Leek, following a nine-month build programme.
The new centre is part of a £860,000 investment, which will also see an additional £100,000 spent on the upgrading of two existing play areas on the estate and additional landscaping to the surrounding green areas.
Facilities include two multi-functional activity rooms, a flexible community meeting hub and state-of-the-art changing places.
The community centre trustees welcomed volunteers, community groups and well-wishers to the new centre for a special event on Thursday, June 12, where the keys were handed over by Kathy Cowell OBE DL, chairman of Your Housing Group to Alan Scragg, the chairman of Haregate Community Centre.
Mr Scragg said: "We always wanted the new centre to be finished and ready for us to move into before the old centre was demolished, and they have done that for us. It's absolutely brilliant and better than I imagined.
"We've had ups and downs along the way and lots of meetings with Your Housing and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, and we never stopped saying what we wanted and finally we got them behind us.
"It's everything we worked for and more and it's not like any other centre; it's bespoke and unique.
"It is in an ideal, central spot which people will gravitate towards.
"This part of the estate has never looked so good and has never had so much attention.
"It will flourish and it's so good to see children using it, who will hopefully be the ones to take it on in the future.
"There are already lots of new volunteers signing up and groups wanting to join. This is the result of a lot of hard work and teamwork and its future success will be down to the continuation of that."
Mrs Cowell added: "The centre facilities will enable more groups to be able to access at any one time and we know that there has already been a notable increase in groups wanting to use the new centre.
"I'm very proud to be able to hand the keys over to the trustees and wish them well."
The official public open day is planned for Saturday, July 5, at the centre, which will see fairground rides, face-painting, inflatable fun and other activities.
Laura Cottingham, Haregate Community Centre co-ordinator, said: "The new centre is wonderful; the facilities enable more groups to be able to use it, inevitably offering the community greater variety in the types of activities they can get involved in.
"The open day will be a fantastic way to thank the local community for all their hard work and patience while the new centre was built."
Councillor Sybil Ralphs, leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council said: "I hope that local people will make full use of this fantastic new facility and its surroundings."
Anyone interested in finding out more about the centre and the activities on offer, should contact Laura on 01538 398378.