FENLANDER: �430k revamp at King Edward Centre in Chatteris brings centre up to modern standards

THE King Edward Centre in Chatteris is looking forward to a big rise in the number of people using its facilities following the major refurbishment of the site carried out at the end of last year.

About �430,000 has been spent on improvements designed to bring the centre up to modern standards and provide a much-needed venue for a wide range of community activities.

The building can now cater for many more activities and is much more flexible. Along with new ceilings, flooring and decor, it now has a new kitchen, cafe area and extra toilets.

One key change has been the installation of some partition walls in the main hall, allowing it to be divided easily into three separate areas. A link extension has also been created to connect the main building to the annexe. Access to the centre has also been improved and on-site parking is now available.

Ann Grainger, the centre’s administrator, said: “Everyone here is very pleased with what’s been done and I think the community as a whole are, too. It’s much more modern and up-to-date and more people are using it.

“Last week I had two new groups booking for short mat bowls and karate and the What Next group are now going to be coming to us. Also, the playgroup is using it more - and we’ve got a wedding reception booked for October.”

Chris Pope, chairman of the Trustees of the Chatteris Community Centre Association, said: “It’s a massive improvement over what it was. It’s an old Edwardian school and while it had all the charm of that, it also had all the drawbacks. It’s now attractive, warm, clean – really nice.

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“It’s getting more use already and we’ll be getting the community cinema soon – hopefully starting at the end of this month or early in February.”

The main funding was made up of �250,000 from Fenland District Council and �150,000 from Chatteris Town Council. An extra �30,000 came as a grant from the Fens Adventurers rural development programme. That paid for the installation of new, environmentally friendly photovoltaic panels that will provide a significant amount of electricity for the building as well as reducing its carbon dioxide emissions.

Cambridgeshire County Council has given a 99-year lease on the building at a peppercorn rent.

FDC Councillor Peter Murphy, who has been closely involved in the refurbishment scheme, said: “For some time Chatteris has had a real need for this sort of top-quality community centre, which is why both councils have put so much money and effort into making these improvements. Now that they are complete I hope more and more people will take advantage of the facilities and the centre will go from strength to strength.”

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