A £1m revamp creating a community hub for Croydon residents of all ages and with or without disabilities opened yesterday (Tuesday).
More than 100 people including adults with disabilities, local charities and voluntary groups, council staff and councillors were at the official unveiling of the Cherry Hub, which was opened by the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Humayun Kabir.
Work began last year to refit and upgrade the 1980s building in St James’s Road into the Cherry Hub, which is for the use of council adult social care services, local voluntary groups and the wider public.
The hub includes several new facilities that were also demonstrated on the day:
• A new specialist dance and workout studio for around 30 people
• Flexible meeting rooms with wifi
• A training kitchen, with adjustable height surfaces for wheelchair users
• A top-of-the-range sensory room
• A specialist wing for the council’s autism service
The hub is not a day centre in the traditional sense – people with disabilities use it as part of their tailored activity programmes around the borough. Other members of the public will also be able to hire rooms, and customers have already included The BRIT School for dance classes with local schoolchildren and the NHS for meetings.
The day’s events included a singing class run by members of The BRIT School’s community arts practice, therapeutic massage, a live performance by disabled musicians The Carbonators and cookery sessions.
Rooms at the newly-fitted building, which used to be the Cherry Orchard day centre, have full disabled access including hoists and handrails. The neighbouring Cherry Orchard garden centre remained open for business throughout construction and continues to sell a range of plants to the public.
The Whitehorse Youth Centre and nursery continue to use a separate part of the building. The borough’s other Active Lives services for people with disabilities now have the additional opportunity to use the hub’s resources either in groups or as individuals.
The Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Humayun Kabir, said: “I have huge appreciation for the colleagues working in the community for their continued dedication to residents with disabilities and their carers, and I’m delighted to show my support.”
Councillor Janet Campbell, Croydon Council’s deputy cabinet member for families, health and social care, said: “Helping people with disabilities to thrive is a council priority, and we’ve upgraded the Cherry Hub so it offers them lots of activities to enjoy as part of their busy daily lives.
“Whether you have disabilities or not, this newly-improved hub and its garden centre are open for the use of people across the borough, and I look forward to Croydon residents benefitting from it.”
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