A COMMUNITY is celebrating after it was announced a much-loved centre is on the verge of re-opening, a year after it was almost burnt to the ground by arsonists.
Manton residents were left heartbroken when flames ripped through the roof of the Kingston Close centre after two wheelie bins were set alight and pushed towards its doors.
The once thriving hub was badly damaged in the blaze and the attack left one half of the building in ruins, casting doubt over its future.
But its future now looks brighter than ever following refurbishment which promises to make the centre the heartbeat of the community once more.
Leader of Bassetlaw Council Simon Greaves said the refurbished centre will be of great benefit to Manton.
“The heart was torn out of the community when it was subject to arson a year ago,” he said.
“It was devastating for everyone, especially the residents of Manton.”
“There was a large ground swell of support by the community and councillors for the centre to be put back into use.”
“It could provide a great facility for the local area and for the elderly residents. I look forward to it reopening soon and seeing it as busy as ever.”
Councillor Greaves underlined the authority’s commitment to the centre in coming years.
He added: “This is part of the wider community and is a jewel in the crown of Worksop.”
The doors to the newly christened Kingston Close Community Centre are expected to be opened in the first week of September.
Refurbishment, to the tune of £125,000, meant a new roof, flooring, ceiling, windows, doors and toilets.
Worksop South East councillors Josie Potts and Brian Hopkinson were thrilled with the news.
“What fantastic news! It’s been the lifeblood of the community for so long and I know what it means to the residents to get this back,” Coun Potts said.
Coun Hopkinson added: “It was a huge blow when it happened.”
“I’m extremely pleased to see it back after such a long time without it.”
The centre played host to a number of events including birthday parties, Age Concern, workshops and bingo.
Coun Potts said she hopes to celebrate the return of the centre by hosting a buffet for the local community.
Kingston Road resident Ruby Doleman, 82, can remember when the community centre opened for the first time 28 years ago.
“It’s the only thing we have got and whoever set it on fire took it away from us for a whole year,” she said.
“I used to use the centre frequently to play bingo, parties and get-togethers.”
“We’ll have our lives back.”
Bill Jackson, 87, from Kingston Road, said he was devastated when the centre was taken away from them.
“We could walk here easily but they took everything away from us,” he said.“At one time you couldn’t get into the centre.”
“It was full at least three times a week and we’ve missed that.”
“We want our centre back.”