New £1m community centre planned for Freeman Street in Grimsby
A £1-MILLION community centre is coming to Freeman Street – providing affordable luxuries for locals and employment opportunities for those struggling to find work.
The Big Lottery has approved Grimsby charity Foresight and CPO Media Works' bid for the maximum £500,000 to transform the derelict three-storey Walmsley's Furniture Superstore into a community centre.
It will include an auditorium with a cinema, dance studio, bar and gym as well as a laundrette and printing services.
Steve Ryder, managing director of CPO Media and chairman of the community centre project, said: "It will provide high-quality facilities that are affordable to the local community.
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"It will be cost-effective and accessible for people who, at the moment, cannot afford luxuries like going to the cinema."
People who use Foresight, a charity helping the disabled, will work in the centre, providing them with vital work experience, while locals can use cheaper facilities than anywhere else.
Building work began today, which is hoped to be complete by December.
Paul Silvester, chief officer of Foresight, said: "We have been delivering back-to-work training, preparing people and raising their aspirations, but we saw that once we got them ready, there was no where for them to go.
"We saw an opportunity to deliver first-class facilities, raise the profile of a street in decline and provide work experience."
Mr Ryder added: "It is incredibly exciting and massively rewarding.
"The Big Lottery has realised this is a part of the borough that desperately needs regenerating and we are going to be part of that.
"Freeman Street will never be the street it used to be, as the industry that made it so great has gone, but what we can't do is nothing."