‘Vital’ Plaistow community centre re-opens to the public

Community groups in Plaistow will finally be able to get access to a gleaming new centre.

The St Mary the Virgin Church Centre re-opened last week with leaders aiming to tap into the feel good factor.

The site was closed almost a year ago for refurbishment, but was re-opened following months of hard graft and a much needed cash injection.

Completion of the �61,000 project was marked by a packed 90-minute service led by Rev Elwin Cockett, the archdeacon of West Ham.

Visitors then enjoyed refreshments before taking a look at the new facilities.

The centre now features a permanent community and computer room.

Space was also created by removing the large church organ, and a movable partition has now been put in place to separate church paraphernalia from the community room when required.

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A new step-free ramp exit and a disabled toilet have also been installed to enable better access.

Rector, Rev Pat Mossop said the: “Members are delighted that this project has at last come good and that we shall be able to open our doors to our community.”

Funding came from the London Over the Border Council and the Veolia Environmental Trust.

The volunteers, who were out and about decorating and landscaping the site, were provided by the East London Business Alliance (ELBA).

Before the improvements, church members had to shift furniture each week to create space for community activities, before putting it back in time for weekend church services.

McNabb Laurie, from Veolia, said: “It is great that the improvements are now complete and St Mary the Virgin Church Centre is able to re-open its doors for the whole community.

“Venues such as this are vital for communities as they provide much needed space for groups to meet and hold activities and events.”