Dean Court Community Centre is back open for business exactly three years after being destroyed in an arson attack. On Friday, the centre was officially opened for the people of Dean Court, Cumnor, to host activities and run community events.
Anna Pearson, chairwoman of the Dean Court Community Association Management Team, said: “I hope this will be somewhere to come together and make friends and do things together.
“We have a very diverse community and I really hope people from all over the parish will use it.”
The centre was originally a social club, which closed in 2010. The Dean Court Community Association was then formed in an attempt to lease and use the hall as a community centre.
Then, on February 28 2011, an arson attack left the hall derelict and needing complete refurbishment.
The Community Association raised £35,000 and that money, along with £350,000 from the insurance for the original building, paid for the development.
The new building has a main hall for activities such as dancing, martial arts and fitness classes.
There is also a refitted and enlarged kitchen and three individual rooms for smaller group bookings, as well as new toilet facilities.
Primary school teacher Miss Pearson said: “We’ve put in windows all down one wall that weren’t there before, so it’s much brighter and nicer now.”
Organisers hope that the fourth room will be used by the police as a community outreach base.
Vale of White Horse District Council leader Matthew Barber said: “The new centre really is a fantastic facility for the area and we know that local people and groups will ensure it continues to be a much loved community hub for many years to come.”
Miss Pearson said: “It is amazing to think of the myriad ways this building can bring life to our community in Dean Court over the next 25 years, and makes all the effort we put in more than worth it.”
Cath Little, who lives on Pinnocks Way, is looking forward to the new centre.
The mother-of-two said: “Especially with kids I’m really pleased that there’s going to be a community centre nearby.
“I hope there will be lots of kids activities, because there are loads of children on the estate.”
She added: “It’s just great that there will be a venue that will be used properly for the community.”