Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge, “the birthplace of industry”, is a World Heritage site but also a community of about 3,500 people located within Shropshire’s largest town of Telford. It is a semi-rural area in steep valleys with poor public transport links. There are few community facilities for local people. The Community Centre, based in a Victorian listed building, was established in 1998, and is a vital resource for all residents but particularly for the young and elderly who tend to find it harder to access facilities further away.
Regular users include the Cubs, Beavers, Scouts, Explorers, Guides & Rangers, the Womens Institute, Gardening Club and classes for Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi & Belly Dancing. It is also used for craft fairs, meetings, presentations and private parties. It is available for letting for both public and private use at reasonable rates, and has the advantage of lots of free parking.
The Centre is run by a voluntary committee. Booking fees and an annual grant from the Parish Council cover day to day costs, such as heating and cleaning, but maintenance and improvements are paid for by fundraising. In recent years we have held a barbecue and a Race Night annually. These, together with grants from SITA and the Cooperative Community Fund have enabled us to fund new central heating, new gates and fire prevention works.
In 2013 the main hall has had a major renovation with a new oak floor and new ceiling with soundproofing so activities upstairs don’t disturb the ground floor. The hall was completely redecorated with new lighting and curtains. These works also mean there is now level access to the Centre and throughout the ground floor. The improvements were funded by grants from Biffa Environmental Trust and the Gorge Parish Council and topped up by the Association’s reserves raised from fundraising events. The contract lasted for 6 weeks during April and May: groups temporarily relocated upstairs or to other local venues but are now back in a much improved hall. A formal re-opening ceremony took place on Saturday September 28.
We are now intending to raise funds to improve the rest of the building & would welcome suggestions about priorities & layout.