Swindon AdvertiserCommunity urged to make more use of centre (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Community urged to make more use of centre

Swindon Advertiser: Craig Wigley and Darren Wickel from the Co-operative with Patsy Moloney, of Buckhurst Park Community Centre Craig Wigley and Darren Wickel from the Co-operative with Patsy Moloney, of Buckhurst Park Community Centre

THE people in charge of a local community centre are pleading with residents to make use of their facilities.

The Buckhurst Park Community Centre – formerly the Walcot Dome – was taken over by Swindon Council in 2010 just as the electricity supply was to be cut off amid rising debts. It is now run by a committee with charity status.

But since it re-opened in December, centre committee chairman Patsy Moloney says the centre has not had the support that it needs.

“People will drive in their cars to come to the centre but people in the local area won’t step out their front doors to support us,” he said.

“In my opinion, people just aren’t community-minded in this area. The centre has got a history but we want to move forward.

“People who come in here now say they are always given a nice welcome and we have done work to spruce it up because it was in a bad way, so we have improved it in that way.

“We’ve got a completely new committee, there’s nobody on the committee that was here before.

“And we can offer competitive prices as well because we know this is an area with lots of unemployment, so we can negotiate rates.”

To attract people to the centre and to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee, a number of events have been arranged for the long weekend. On Monday, June 4, there will be a 1940s tea dance from 3pm to 6.30pm, with ‘40s music and dancing, vintage trade stalls, hair and make-up and homemade cakes.

There will also be a table top sale, a craft fair and a car boot sale from 9am.

On June 6 there will be a celebration of the Jubilee and the Olympic Games with activities on the Buckhurst Field.

There will be a throw a welly competition, football, spots and stripes games and a beat the goalie contest, Stalls and further activities will be held in the centre.

The centre has joined forces with the Co-operative store in Sussex Square, which will have its employees at the centre on the day to help support the charity and promote their own Fair Trade products.

The centre is home to Carousel Pre-School, a disabled group and, from June, McInerney School of Irish Dancing will practise there, but Patsy hopes the number of groups using the building will increase in time.

“We need to attract more community groups,” he said.

“We also have a large hall, which is perfect for badminton, or parties, wakes, anything.

“We have the odd party at the moment, but I don’t know if people know about our facilities, we have a large kitchen with a serving area too, it is all here.”

For more information about the centre and the forthcoming events, call 01793 495832.

To book a table for the table top sale on June 4, call Patsy on 01793 642368.

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