DANCERS were the first performers to take advantage of a new £10.8m community centre in Portsmouth.
Somers Town Central, which took 20 months to build, has started hosting meetings, children’s clubs and community activities since its grand opening late last month.
And a summer ballet school for girls aged seven to 15 has become the first performance event to take place at the new centre.
The Southsea Summer Dance programme gave a group of 13 youngsters the chance to improve their dance skills under the tuition of professional dancers from the Vienna Festival Ballet.
Dancer and former Portsmouth resident Samantha Bosshardt, 21, said the hub had her stamp of approval.
She said: ‘It’s a modern and well-constructed building.
‘The facilities are brilliant and feel spacious because of their high ceilings.’
The six-day course finished with a performance in the building’s hall.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, said the hub was an excellent addition to the city.
He said: ‘By sharing space with the housing office and others we’ve ended up with a building that is both affordable and of a high quality.
‘It’s a fantastic environment with room for all sorts of activities.
‘I hope the people of Somers Town will make full use of it.’
The building includes a community centre, housing office, youth office and doctor’s surgery.
The bulk of the structure sits above Winston Churchill Avenue, linking two parts of Somers Town.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson was council leader when plans for the new hub were announced in 2011.
He said was pleased the project had finally come to fruition. ‘It’s an interesting building offering a range of services all in one place.’
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said the design saved space and made the area safer.
He said: ‘When we were looking for an alternative place to put things there was very little open space.
‘Building it across the road protects that space for local residents.’