AN ARMY of volunteers is transforming a run-down community centre – with a little help from an MP.
Litres of paint, tiles and hundreds of man hours have been put in to helping breathe new life into Stamshaw and Tipner Leisure Centre.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, who campaigned at the centre to promote the Tories’ big society idea before last year’s elections, has organised the scheme.
She explained: ‘This centre has been starved of money and was in definite need of a lift. There isn’t a lot of cash available for these things to be done, so I spent a few months writing to companies and visiting, to secure donations of material and time.
‘The response has been wonderful, with loads of paint donated by Wickes of Waterlooville, floor paint and tiles from Arnolds and much more besides.’
Work started with volunteers painting, laying carpets, tiling and helping to transform the Wilson Road centre’s reception.
Ms Mordaunt said: ‘We have volunteers from the Co-op, which is also providing tea, coffee and biscuits, and from KPA, the company which does lots of Portsmouth City Council’s painting and decorating work, so it’s great to have professionals in here.
‘The centre is a good space, which should be at the centre of the community. But it has suffered because of the way it has deteriorated.
‘The council has done structural work here, and this is to make it a welcoming place to be, to encourage more people to use it.
‘It’s made such a difference and I’m grateful to everyone who’s put time into it.’
Gavin Earl, a KPA employee, said: ‘It’s been fun. It’s nice to see we’re helping make a difference. I’ve been working in the main function room and the reception, painting them.’
Di Lendrum, a member of the centre’s committee, said: ‘It looks really good.
‘It’s made such a difference and we’re really pleased with it.
‘These volunteers have worked hard to make the place look much better.’