Turf cutting marks start of Stowford Community Centre

Councils work in partnership to see work start on Stowford Rise Community Centre build

AN official turf-cutting ceremony will take place on Tuesday (November 2) to mark the start of the building of Stowford Rise Community Centre, Sidmouth.

The centre will include a community hall, large kitchen and space designed to meet the needs of the surrounding community.

There will be office space for the children’s centre and health visitors, as well as a room to hold children’s activities.

All three local authorities are in partnership on the project - town, district and county -as well as local charities and businesses.

Residents have formed an active community group to raise funds to equip the centre, ensure its development and smooth running once the building is completed. They have already raised nearly �3,000.

Devon County Council has given �250,000 through the Invest in Devon fund and secured money through the Surestart scheme for the provision of the Children’s Centre.

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East Devon District has contributed the land for the development and has been instrumental in securing, through planning funds, �200,000 from Waitrose and �81,000 from Devon and Cornwall Housing.

Sidmouth Town Council has provided �10,000 to pay for a member of council staff to get the project running and ongoing support for the Stowford Community Centre group.

Devon Primary Care Trust has granted �50,000.

Local County Councillor Stuart Hughes said: “The start of this building work marks the culmination of nearly 20 years’ work.

“All the agencies have pulled together to secure the funding and keep the project on track, and members of the community have gone the extra mile in raising awareness and money for the project.

“I look forward to seeing the completion of this building, which will really put the heart into the community.”

Henry W Pollard & Sons Ltd from Bridgwater is building the centre and hope to complete it by August 2011.

Fran Drayton, Children’s Centre manger from Action for Children said: “The Children’s Centre is looking forward to being in the same building as the health team as we feel that this offers families with children under five a central point of contact in the heart of their community.”