IN life, Sean Dickinson believed learning should be open to all.
Now, after his untimely death, the vision has become reality thanks to a centre that bears his name.
Park Community School in Leigh Park has officially launched its £750,000 Dickinson Centre.
The purpose-built centre for community, family and adult learning, has a free internet café, three meeting rooms to hire and a consulting room which will be used by health providers.
Mr Dickinson was credited as being the driving force behind the transformation of the once failing school, where he was headteacher from 1997 until March 2008.
Headteacher of school Chris Anders said: ‘We named the centre after Sean because it sums up everything he stood for.
‘His belief was that as a community school there was a duty to serve the whole community, and not just 11 to 16-year-olds.
‘It was something he recognised when he appointed a community manager to help develop work beyond the remit of the children we teach.
‘I do believe if he were here he would be incredibly proud of the centre.’
Members of the local community and beyond will be able to access a whole range of courses provided by Hampshire Learning, many of which are free, and it is hoped many more groups will use the centre as their base.
Mr Anders added: ‘When I arrived the school had a pot of £60,000 left over from another project and we were determined to invest in family learning.
‘But it was difficult to get adults on site during the school day and there were discussions at the time about a temporary structure.
‘But we’ve gone one better – it’s a dream come true.
‘The challenge now is making it easy for people to get back into learning. We hope this will be another success story for Park Community.’
The team at the Dickinson Centre are running coffee mornings throughout October and welcome visitors to drop in. For more information call 023 9248 9836.
by ALINE NASSIF