CELEBRATIONS were the order of the day at Kingston Close Community Centre as it re-opened more than a year after being attacked by arsonists.
The Manton centre re-opened its doors last Friday for a special party attended by residents, councillors and A1 Housing chiefs.
Bassetlaw councillor Josie Potts said she was thrilled to see the centre finally up and running after its future was cast into doubt last year.
“I am absolutely buzzing. This is where I get my rewards - seeing something positive being done for the Manton community,” she said.
“There’s been a lot of upheaval over the past year but it just shows you that if you work it, things will eventually happen.”
“I am hoping to work together with residents to put together more events such as dancing at the centre.”
Manton residents were left heartbroken last August when flames ripped through the community centre after two wheelie bins were set alight.
The once-thriving community hub was badly damaged in the blaze and the attack left one half of the building in ruins.
But 14 months on and following a £125,000 refurbishment, the brand-new centre boasts a new roof, flooring, ceiling, windows, kitchen area and toilets.
Enjoying the buffet, bingo and singing entertainment last Friday were Kingston Close residents Joan Redhead and Barbara Wratten.
Joan, 88, moved to the street 24 years ago and said she was delighted to see the community centre open for business.
“It’s absolutely fabulous - this is like our second home,” she said.
“I was one of the first tenants in Kingston Close and we used to have a great bingo club with 145 people on the books.”
“This has dwindled to 16 over the years but we’re hoping to boost numbers once again. I urge people to get behind the centre and use it - it’s not just about today.”
Fellow resident Barbara Wratten, 82, agreed and said people needed to ‘use it or lose it’.
“The younger residents in the bungalows don’t seem to be as interested in coming out but they need to come along and support the centre and meet new people,” she said.
“Even if they get out for just a couple of hours at night, it’ll make a difference. Otherwise you will just stagnate.”
Barbara said it would be great to the bingo club take off again as well as new events at the centre.
“There used to be a waiting list for bingo and you couldn’t get in the room some nights,” she said.
“I also learnt to sequence dance with my husband and it’d be great to see events like that come back to the centre.”
Residents had to hold temporary bingo sessions at the Centre for Sport and Learning and councillors had to hold their surgeries elsewhere while waiting for the centre to re-open.
County councillor Glynn Gilfoyle thanked everyone for their patience and support over the past year.
“You can really see how vibrant this community is,” he said.
“But it’s not just about today - people need to get behind their community centre. I urge people to come along and hire it out - it’s got brilliant facilities.”
Director of technical and housing services Don Spittlehouse said he was delighted to see project completed.
“A1 Housing are centered around care in the community and this is a shining example of a facility we have redeveloped and refurbished for people to get together,” he said.
To find out more about the centre call 0800 542 590.