Building work to transform a former nursery school building in Ripon into a modern community centre has started.
Thanks to a generous response to a fund raising campaign which has now raised almost £10,000 (including a £2,000 grant from the Harrogate District Community Chest) the steering group behind St Wilfrid’s Community Centre in Ripon has been able to begin work on bringing the centre building up to the standard required for public use.
Formerly used by St Wilfrid’s Nursery School, the community centre stands off Trinity Lane within the grounds of St Wilfrid’s RC Church.
Bernadette Barnes, chairman of the steering group, said: “The group is very grateful to all who had provided practical and financial help for the programme of works.”
She expressed special thanks to the Knoll Trust, owners of the building, and to St Wilfrid’s Parish and the Catholic Diocese of Leeds as lessees for continuing support.
“I look forward to the day when we can welcome users from the wider community to this new facility,” she added.
Scaffolding erected at the west end of the building is the first outward sign that the work needed is under way.
The first phase of the work is to tackle a backlog of repairs and maintenance to secure the future of the building, which will be paid for by money raised so far.
Voluntary labour from St Wilfrid’s parishioners has already upgraded two rooms in the building for interim use by the parish but the aim is to have it ready for use by the whole community of Ripon and district as soon as possible.
Under the direction of steering group member Mark Lorraine, who is co-ordinating the building work, Anthony Constantine of local traders T Constantine and Son has now completed the rebedding of the coping stones on the top of the west gable wall to prevent the ingress of moisture. Further repair and maintenance work will follow.
Meanwhile the steering group – with advice from the Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service – is seeking grant assistance for further phases of the work.
First priority once the initial repair and maintenance phase is complete is to provide modern toilet facilities. Other projects include a new heating system and a new kitchen.