Ben Clayton, of Penwortham, joined the centre last September and is already making his mark. He helped to co-ordinate the installation of CCTV at the site, in Brook Street, Preston, thanks to funding from Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC) and ward councillors Carl Crompton and Frank De Molfetta.
Ben says: “There was an incident last year where a man lost his life in the area.
“We thought it would be a good idea to help the community feel more secure and get some reassurance. So we applied for funding from Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC) and ward councillors Carl Crompton and Frank De Molfetta helped with funds to set up the CCTV, which will capture anything that we need to.”
“We believe that everyone in the community should have local access to affordable activities that improve health and wellbeing and reduce social isolation.”
Plungington Community Centre, a former school building, is a hub providing a range of activities and entertainment for people of all ages. The centre has a large hall, including a stage, and a number of smaller rooms, all available for hire by community groups.
As part of his new role, Ben is looking at hosting more activities for older people and encouraging healthier lifestyles.
He says: “We believe that everyone in the community should have local access to affordable activities that improve health and wellbeing and reduce social isolation.
“We are continuing the good work already within the centre and now want to help move it forward.“At the moment we are looking at gaps in provision within the community centre and so we want to increase access for everyone.
“We want to put on more activities for older people and we want to get a healthy eating scheme.
“We are also encouraging professionals to come into the centre to meet people in the community and give support and guidance.“We are launching a new computer room, with wifi, so members can access laptops and tablets.”
“There is a lot going on in the moment.
“With the decline of authority services, we need to be able to provide these vital things for the community.
“People need a friendly face and a centre to go to for support.
“The centre hosts PACT meetings for people to speak to councillors and the police about matters that are important to them.
“It is also a place where people can come if they want to do yoga, or zumba, as we offer a health and wellbeing service.
“It is a real hub where people can come and access the services they need. There is a real energy in the building. We do a lot of work with Caritas Care and so we have a large number of adults with additional needs.
“We are always looking for groups and individuals who can offer something new to the community or just need a space for an event or meeting.”The centre is run by Ben and two other members of staff, Emma Worden and Hazel Critchley.
Two volunteers, mother and daughter Karen and Zoe Molloy, run the play and stay group for parents and tots.
Emma, 34, of Preston, says: “I run the cafe, serving people food and drinks. I have been here two years, since the cafe opened.
“I enjoy seeing everyone as we have some lovely people that come here. We have a laugh and it is great fun. I get to meet different kinds of people from a variety of organisations and religions. I am learning all sorts and I really enjoy it.”
Article and images provided by Lancashire Evening Post