Hundreds of Busledon residents turned out this afternoon, to see the Mayor of Eastleigh, Cllr Malcolm Cross, formally open their brand new Community Centre.
The £2.6m Lowford Centre is built on a site that was formerly owned by the Bursledon & District Community Association, land which was transferred to Eastleigh Borough Council to facilitate this development and which is now leased back to the BDCA on a 999 year lease.
A state of the art building includes PV solar panels, a green roof, rainwater harvesting and ground-sourced hot water. It has three halls for hire [to seat 40, 100 & 150 people], kitchens, a coffee shop, a library and a new Office for the Parish Council. The building also includes a GP surgery, thus integrating all of the important community facilities under one roof.
The library, which is the first completely new library to be opened in Hampshire for 30 years, will be staffed entirely by volunteers. There is one check in/out terminal, public access internet and free wi-fi. A small childrens play area too…
In his speech, the Mayor said;
The centre will provide a hub for the village, bringing important local community services together in one location.
The project has been funded and managed by Eastleigh Borough Council, with contributions from Bursledon Parish Council. It is a great example of partnership, with many groups working together to deliver such a fantastic facility. The groups involved include the Bursledon & District Community Association, Bursledon Surgery, the Parish Council , Hampshire Libraries and the NHS.
The new centre represents a great example of the Councils commitment to tackling climate change, by delivering a truly sustainable building.
The opening ceremony included the routine unveiling of a commemorative plaque and the unveiling of some public art inside the foyer.
Mounted high on the wall, the unveiling of the public art proved troublesome, with the tape that was used to hold a curtain proving much stronger than expected. During the unveiling the curtain, which was made of a lightweight material, split into two pieces. The Mayor and the Chair of Bursledon Parish Council, Cllr Mark McCormick were left struggling to remove the rest of the curtain, a difficult task that was eventually completed with some help from the Project Manager…
Once the troublesome curtain was fully removed, the gathered crowd could see the whole of the new mosaic image of Bursledon Windmill, fabricated from 500 brick tiles manufactured at Bursledon brickworks, each of which bears an inscription made by local people.
After the opening ceremony, the excited members of the public were able to tour the new facilities, visit the many stalls that had been set up for the event and say hello to the animals in the travelling farm, outside.
In a press release, John Misselbrook, Chairman of the Bursledon & District Community Association said;,
“Everyone associated with the charity are extremely proud of the facility and the financial support, from both Bursledon Parish Council and Eastleigh Borough Council, is deeply appreciated.”
“We have been lucky to be in the centre during the many visits, both by organised groups and those just curious to see what is available, and to be able to show the new centre off!”
“In particular, a class from Bursledon School, made the short walk from the school to see what was on offer in the library and the children obviously enjoyed the variety of books available. The greatest thrill for many the children, we have so far seen, is the anticipation many of them have, to see the tiles they have made, along with a number of our older parishioners.”
“The volunteers involved, from the Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum, have all worked hard turning the tiles into a lasting legacy for the Bursledon Community.”
“In addition, the BDCA have been supported by a growing number of sponsors, who will be also be able to see their handmade tiles at a sponsors champagne reception, when they are installed.”
There is still an opportunity to sponsor the new Community Centre and have a tile bearing your name, or company name, added to the wall of the foyer. Each tile costs £150, but they will be there for the life of the building. The funds raised will be used to pay for the fixtures and furnishings for the new building.
In their Press Release, the Centre Manager, Jordan Walsh, added;
“The three halls and associated kitchens have definitely provided an inspiration to a number of people who are planning their next event.
“The classes held, so far, have been very well attended and we expect growing support for the Jiu Jitsu, Boxercise, Ballet and Yoga sessions. We are about to welcome our old friends, from the Bridge Club, Line Dancing and Christian Fellowship, back to the centre and I am confident that we will make many new friends, as the message spreads. ”
The website at www.bursledon.cc is now live and is able to provide more information on the facilities and classes. Bookings can be made online, by visiting the centre in person or by phone.