Church and community work together to build new centre

Building work has started on a new £945,000 community centre to replace the old church hall at St Peter’s in Westfield, Yeovil. Nearly £1m has been raised in just 13 months by St Peter’s in partnership with the local community and council.

The new centre, which is due to open in the autumn, will be twice the size of the existing hall and will have three areas for hire instead of the present one, an open plan foyer/community café area, improved heating and storage, a new kitchen and toilets and disabled access.

Rev. David Keen, is Chair of the project group, “This new community centre is a chance to provide something brilliant to Westfield and is a great example of what can happen when the church and community work together.”

St. Peter’s Hall has served Westfield estate since the 1960s, hosting everything from carnival clubs, to pantomimes and community bingo. Set behind St. Peter’s church on Coronation Avenue, it is the only community hall on Westfield, an estate of 5,000 people. In 2012 the hall was recommended for demolition. Around that time St. Peter’s church began working with Westfield Community Association and the District Council to begin planning a replacement hall.

The Westfield area Yeovil is a mixed community and historically some areas have had high levels of deprivation. Now residents and friends are looking forward to positive change and a bright future thanks to St. Peter’s and the Community Association working together. Their vision is to provide a new centre for future generations that offers fun, friendship, support and advice; something that will be a beacon and a beating heart for Westfield.

The new centre will be run by St Peter’s Church in partnership with the Community Association, and will be a venue for hire, as well as a hub for community advice and support. It will provide a home for the regular groups which use the old hall, and will also be a purpose-built venue for new community groups. There’s already interest from the local Citizens Advice Bureau, Somerset Skills and Learning, and Somerset Libraries who would like to use the centre as a base from which to serve the estate.

In total the new centre will cost around £945,000. Thanks to a £500,000 Lottery grant, other grants, and local fundraising, they’ve managed to raise almost £920,000 in little over a year. This added to the money St Peter’s had already set aside for a new hall, means the new centre should open its doors by the end of the year.

 

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