Ambitious plans for expansion and improvement are afoot at Community Wise, the Ocklynge Road community centre in Old Town.
A fundraising appeal has also been set up to pay for vital repairs to an outside play area, steps and fencing and a much needed new small room to accommodate up to 20 people is being built.
Some 3,000 people including members of groups which do not have their own premises use Community Wise each month and centre manager Sue Relf says the improvements will make a huge difference.
“Community Wise runs its own activities for parents, toddlers, school age children and older people as well as providing space for community and family groups,” said Sue.
“The tarmac surface of the play area, wide stone steps leading to it are in need of repair and a surrounding chain link fence is a mess. It means some groups are unable to go outside. The much needed new small room to accommodate up to 20 people is being built in unused space. Demand for rooms means that more than 100 requests for regular or one off bookings have had to be refused in the last few years. A new room will mean Community Wise will be able to accommodate more people and help meet demand.”.
The centre was built in 1964 by Eastbourne YWCA members and since that time has been providing community activities and facilities. Community Wise was launched in 2000 when the YWCA of Great Britain relinquished the asset. Since then local people have raised more than £300,000 to make upgrades, improvements and repairs to modernise the building and enhance the facilities.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” said Sue. “Funds are still needed and I would ask anyone who can help to send donations to Community Wise, Ocklynge Road, Eastbourne, BN21 1PY.”