THE official opening of a new community centre was a huge hit.
Residents gathered at the new Wymering and Paulsgrove Community Centre to see its doors open two years after the plans were given the green light.
The centre in Cheltenham Road has replaced the Hillside building that was demolished in 2012.
The new £1.4m development was a hit with young people who attended the grand opening.
The new state-of-the-art centre has an IT room, a games room with a pool table and a large hall with space for clubs to hold their classes.
Maria Rose, centre co-ordinator, said: ‘It is fantastic to see the new centre open.
‘The kids and teenagers have been waiting for such a long time to have their community centre back and now they do.
‘We will have lots of activities for the kids to take part in including sport, music, art and crafts, cooking classes and sessions held by the police and other services.’
A ribbon was cut by Peter Littlefield which marked the opening.
Peter’s mother and his father used to help run the old Hillside Centre.
As a thank you for all their hard work, the youth room was named the Littlefield Room.
Peter said: ‘Myself, my father and mother started working at the Hillside Centre 56 years ago.
‘I never thought it would have such an impact on my life as it had. These centres are more important than they have ever been.’
Councillor David Horne, ward councillor for Paulsgrove, said it was a fantastic facility and great for the community.
He said: ‘This centre is great and has all the modern technology that the old centre didn’t have.
‘Hillside had character and it might take up to 12 months for this new building to build its own character but it is a great start.
‘It gives young people in the area somewhere to come after school so it is great to see it up and running.’