MORE THAN half a million pounds is being spent to transform a run down community centre into a state-of-the-art facility.
Work has begun extending and refurbishing the Amersham Road Youth and Community Centre following a £615,000 investment from Reading Borough Council and the Earley Charity.
The Council stumped up £75,000 for design and construction work, with the Earley Charity pumping in £540,000 to give the centre a new façade and reception area, as well as a meeting space and café.
Councillor Liz Terry, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Residents in the Amersham Road area are keen to see their community centre upgraded and for it to become an attractive space for a wide range of activities.
"The arrangement reached between the Council and the Earley Charity will allow this to happen.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Amersham Road Youth and Community Centre becoming a thriving local facility which residents can be proud of.”
Cllr Liz Terry with Earley Charity trustees Lesley Owen and Deborah Jenkins at Amersham Road Youth & Community Centre.
Currently the Centre holds a variety of classes including a basic life skills course, Koran lessons and dance sessions.
Builders will be on site for three months, with a grand opening planned for early Autumn.
Deborah Jenkins, Chair of the Earley Charity’s Community Development Committee, added: “The Earley Charity already supports the CResCent Resource Centre in Earley and we look forward to the opening of the new centre in Amersham Road, bringing similar high-quality community facilities to an area where they are very much needed.
“We are signing up to a 30-year agreement, to give local people certainty that their splendid new centre will be serving the area long into the future.”
The Earley Charity has also committed to funding a centre manager for the whole of its 30 year lease and providing an annual community fund to support local initiatives.
The Council will also make a contribution as a user of the centre.