Schoolchildren and residents have celebrated the unveiling of a new community learning centre.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has delivered the development in Trentham, which is ready to open after work started last year.
The facility boasts a large communal space, a kitchen and toilets, computers and a collection of up to 2,500 books. Based in the grounds of Trentham Academy, it will be used by pupils during term time to support their learning and development, and by residents every Tuesday to promote social inclusion in the community.
Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage, said: “It’s great to see the building up and running and ready to be used by the people it was intended for. Working closely with the school, we’ve been able to deliver this amazing community facility which will benefit such a wide range of people for years to come. It’s one of a number of community projects the council is committed to delivering across the city, including the new visitor centre at Park Hall and restoring our historic town halls.”
Trentham Academy is a member of the City Learning Trust (CLT) which will be responsible for running and maintaining the facility. When being used by the community, it will be run by volunteers from the Trentham Reads group, a volunteer led library service who will be responsible for managing a collection of books on loan from the council. The volunteers will loan them out to residents and manage the returns.
Mike Whittingham, headteacher at Trentham Academy, said: “I am thrilled the centre is finally complete. The dual use agreement means that it will provide excellent facilities and resources for both our academy and community and will therefore help to forge stronger links between the two. We are passionate about a positive relationship with the community.”
Trentham Reads will operate from the centre every Tuesday from 10am to 12pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm from October 1. They had previously been running weekly book lending sessions at Trentham Mews Medical Centre.
Group lead Ann George said: “We were grateful to have a temporary base for the past five years, but are now really looking forward to opening our permanent home in the learning centre. We will have more books, courtesy of Stoke-on-Trent Libraries, and will be able to offer story times and other community activities in a safe and welcoming space.
“It will be ideal for informal learning opportunities and sharing skills and conversation over a cup of tea. Reading, learning and social connectedness all help to promote health and wellbeing and reduce isolation and loneliness. We hope that Trentham Reads community Tuesday sessions will soon be buzzing.”
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