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Community centre is gearing up to re-open following £400,000 revamp during lockdown



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A new look March Community Centre is gearing up to re-open for the first time in 18 months from September and is ready to welcome back local groups.

Thanks to £400,0000 worth of funding the centre in Station Road has been given a total revamp while it has been closed due to lockdown.

The final touches are now being put in place to ensure the building is Covid compliant ready for the raft of adult learning classes to start from September.

March Community Centre. (49813521)
March Community Centre. (49813521)

Local groups which use the centre as their venue are also being welcomed back with Tanya Shepherd, who has spearheaded the project on behalf of Cambridgeshire Skills, which runs the centre, writing to all previous users inviting them to book their slots.

There were up to 30 or 40 groups that made use of the centre before it was forced to close for lockdown last March and it is hoped the majority of those will return.

In the past the building has welcomed hundreds of visitors every week, but from September there will still be Covid measures in place meaning it will be able to accommodate 30 per cent of its usual numbers.

Work at March Community Centre includes the creation of a new open plan reception area. (49813214)
Work at March Community Centre includes the creation of a new open plan reception area. (49813214)

However, Tanya said that is expected to rise to 80 per cent by October/November.

Work that has been carried out over the past months includes a complete revamp of the reception area, improvements to the building in the centre's car park, new toilet and changing facilities, re-decorating of classrooms and other areas.

Tanya said: "It really is a beautiful facility now. The work was needed and we are extremely grateful to have received the funding to enable the improvements to be completed.

"The new open plan reception area is a very welcoming space and we also have a new community space, it is really wonderful what has been achieved and it is a great asset to the town.

"We have tried to retain the character of the building as much as possible including the parquet flooring in the entrance, where we had considered carpeting, but instead has restored the original floor.

There are now plans for an official opening with MP Steve Barclay being invited to attend together with Cambridgeshire Mayor Dr Nik Johnson as it was the Combined Authority, which provided the funding, and Councillor Lucy Nethsingha, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Councillor Jan French, who has championed March Community Centre, said: "The work that has been carried out at the centre is absolutely fantastic. We were lucky to receive £400,000 to pay for it, plus we received an extra £300,000 to help cover the running costs of this vital facility."

There are dozens of courses on offer at the centre, many of them are free.

To find out what is on offer and to sign up for this September's term visit the Cambridgeshire Skills website:https://www.cambsals.co.uk/



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