Out & About… Coombes Community Centre
Royston’s only community centre in Burns Road has recently had some major improvements. Inside the building a platform lift has been installed which means there is access to all areas of the centre for everyone. In particular, the upstairs conference and meeting rooms and office can now be reached easily by anyone with a wheelchair, pushchair or difficulty climbing the stairs. All the toilets have been refurbished and the Rainbow Playgroup has a new floor and kitchen units as well.
The free car park for users of the centre is vastly expanded and will now hold 3 times the number of cars than before. There will be bike racks, spaces for disabled drivers and motorbikes. The infrastructure is in place for an electric car charging point if the demand arises in the near future. New LED and energy saving lights have been fitted in and outside the centre. The large grass play area at the back will now be fenced so it will be a safe area for parties to use in the summer, and will also enhance the facilities for the playgroup.
The improvements have been largely funded by grants from North Hertfordshire District Council and the Brian Racher Trust. But to cover the day-to-day costs of running the centre the only income is from hiring rooms. So the centre must continue to be used by the community to remain a benefit for the area. At the moment it is gloriously busy, but there is always room for more groups and more improvements.
The centre is run by voluntary Trustees who operate the centre for the benefit of the local community of Royston and the surrounding area. Many people have a fixed idea of what a community centre might be like inside but Coombes Community Centre is bright, light, clean and modern with free wi-fi and rooms of all sizes and prices. It is run by the Royston Community Association (RCA), a registered charity, which can offer encouragement and practical assistance to anyone wishing to start up new activities for the community.
There are exciting plans for the near future with all the window frames being replaced this coming financial year and the following year a new hall floor. An ambitious expansion plan has always been part of the centre’s future and this could still come to fruition with sufficient funding. The centre could offer a huge hall suitable for large gatherings of 500 people, rooms for a possible community radio station or maybe even a ten pin bowling alley with café and games room. The RCA Trustees are pushing forward the developments to take advantage of the increased population of Royston and to make the centre a credit to the town as well as being useful to as many of the residents as possible.
A new website is on the way, but while that is in progress the latest information is available on Facebook and you can follow the centre on Twitter.
So why not come and see for yourself what we have to offer.