Centre boost for Heights!

LAST week Coleraine Times reporter Nichola Forgrave got a tour around the new £1.4 million Coleraine West Community Centre.

Located in the heart of the Heights, at the Rope Walk, the centre was funded by Coleraine Borough Council and DSD.

It will be officially opened on February 24th.

Sports and community groups are making using of the Centre, and are already seeing the benefits.

The building was designed by Coleraine firm WM Given and the contractors on the project were McAleer and Teague.

Boasting bright modern spaces, the Centre is set to be a real asset to the Heights community.

It has various meeting rooms including a large main hall and a minor hall. There is also a purpose built space for the Churchlands Boxing Club on the first floor of the building

Anthea Ridley, Leader of the Playhouse Activity Centre playgroup, which is based in the Centre told The Times: " We are so delighted with the new building.

"We have been here in the Heights for 24 years, the old building was very hard to heat and there were problems with leaks, but our new home is a world away from this.

"The children now have a wet play area and an outdoor area which we never had before."

Anthea described the new building as a 'focal point' for the area and said that already more interest has been shown by prospective parents of the playgroup and the after-schools club, which Anthea also takes charge of.

"This Centre is more that just a Community Centre, it is high-spec, and I know that many residents in this area are keen to get a tour around," said Anthea.

The Head Coach of Churchlands Golden Gloves Boxing Club says he is delighted to finally have a base that the Club can call their own.

Mickey Fleming said that the Club's new base has created a 'real buzz' amongst its members.

"We have been up and running now for six years.

"We have never had a home to call our own, we have moved about several times, so it is just great to have a base here in the Heights. It's a real dream come true after so many years of planning.

"When we first set up the Club, we wanted it to be for kids from the Heights and Killowen areas.

"Our aim was to get them off the streets and learn a bit of discipline through the sport of boxing.

"We now have a 16-foot ring and thousands of pounds of new gear plus changing rooms and shower facilities, so things are really starting to take off for us," said Mickey.

The Club now boasts some 30 members, six of the Club's boxers are currently in training for the County Championships at the end of this month, and Mickey tells that there's plenty more good young talent coming through the ranks.

"We have some good young boxers coming through.

"Many of them have been with us for a few years, and now they are really starting to bud.

"I have a good team behind me in Steven Howard, Micky Herald, Michael Bacon and David Dickey and a very hard working committee, so we are hoping to give the raw talent around the Heights area some schooling in the sport of boxing, and you never know we might have the next world champion in our ranks."

Alex Carmichael, Senior Leisure Services Officer at Coleraine Borough Council has described the Centre as ‘a modern asset'.

He said: "We are delighted with the finished centre and we are grateful for the financial support and assistance from the Department of Social Development.

"The project has been ongoing for a number of years through partnership groups and council officers.

"Obviously, this has been time well spent in that it has now ensured a state of the art new centre of the local community. Our local infrastructure is greatly strengthened with such a modern asset that our rate payers so richly deserve."