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Council to hand popular community centre to Age UK

Toothill Community Centre will be transformed into a vibrant activity hub as Age UK Wiltshire prepares to take over the running of the centre.

Published: Thursday, 18th October 2018

The Wiltshire charity has already outlined its ambitious plans to breathe new life into Toothill’s much-loved community hub.

Following the previous tenants’ announcement in December 2017 that they no longer wished to run the centre, the Council called for community groups who may be interested to come forward. Two bids were submitted and Age UK Wiltshire was the successful bidder.

In its vision for the centre, Age UK hopes it will become a vibrant community base in which fun and educational activities for all ages can regularly take place.

From martial arts classes to foot care services, not to mention cooking classes and a dog club, the new tenants are keen to ensure the centre caters for a wide range of interests and hobbies. The charity also hopes the centre can play a key role in removing barriers faced by disadvantaged groups, while promoting social inclusion.

Councillor Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate and Customer Services, said: “I am delighted that Age UK Wiltshire will be taking over the tenancy of Toothill Community Centre.

“As a Council, one of our key priorities is to help people become active citizens in their communities and having a thriving community centre is an important way of enabling that.

“We are happy to work with the charity as much as we possibly can to ensure the community centre becomes the success we all hope it can be.”  

Age UK intends to put its vision for the centre to a public consultation and will consider the responses when deciding upon which activities to offer.

Simon Billingham, Director of Services at Age UK Wiltshire, said: “We look forward to working with Swindon Borough Council and local residents to create an inter-generational community centre at the heart of Toothill.

“We are keen to ensure that a diverse range of groups, clubs and people utilise the facilities in future and would welcome any thoughts and ideas from local people to help inform our plans. We will also be advertising shortly for local volunteers to help turn the centre into a venue people will value and use.

“As well as creating a fantastic resource for Toothill in the coming months and years, we also plan to develop new services and projects for older people right across Swindon.”

The Council will transfer the premises to the tenant on a five-year lease, which will enable the centre to remain in use while officers review the future of the village centre as a whole, including any potential regeneration opportunities.

Anyone who would like to get involved in the Community Centre at Toothill, or in Age UK’s wider work, can get in touch on 01380 727 767 or by visiting: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/wiltshire.

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