Community centre at heart of Burnley neighbourhood looks set to thrive for generations to come

A thriving community centre  is celebrating eight years of being at the heart of a closeknit Burnley neighbourhood

Monday, 18th February 2019, 10:05 am
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 11:12 am
Burnley Wood Community Centre manager Karen Heseltine (back left) with trustee and playgroup organiser Russ Neal and Sasha Smith with her daughter Daisy Hindle (three)

Thanks to the dedication and commitment of a team of volunteers, Burnley Wood Community Centre is providing a much needed service for residents across the board.

From lunch clubs and discos to knit and natter sessions and playgroups, the building that was originally opened as a Sunday school in 1881 looks set to go from strength to strength.

And this year marks the first birthday of the children's playgroup that plays host to dozens of mums, grandmothers, carers and tots every week.

Burnley Wood Community Centre manager Karen Heseltine (back left) with trustee and playgroup organiser Russ Neal and Sasha Smith with her daughter Daisy Hindle (three)

The idea for the group came from one of the centre trustees, Russ Neal who is also a dad himself. And one year on the hall is filled regularly with tots having fun. One mum even makes the journey over from her home in Nelson every week just to attend the playgroup with her two sons.

Centre manager Karen Heseltine said: "We are all volunteers and we love what we do.

"To see how far the centre has come in the last eight years is fantastic. We know this is a facility that people want and need."

Every Friday night the centre is transformed into disco for local youngsters and one of the centre's great success stories is the weekly lunch club run by Margaret Unsworth. From humble beginnings with just a couple of attendees, the club now hosts up to 30 diners weekly.

A former Sunday school is now a thriving community centre at the heart of Burnley Wood.

And among those is a 91-year-old man who makes the two mile journey from his home in Pike Hill every week on his mobility scooter!

Karen said: "All the tables are decked out with tablecloths and flowers to give the place the real feel of a restaurant."

After serving as a home for various community groups and local companies the building came into the hands of Burnley Council eight years ago and, alongside community partners, it has become the multi-purpose centre it is today.

Generous donations from Asda, Tesco, Morrisons have enabled trustees to kit out the kitchen and plans are on the cards for to create a sensory room that would benefit children with a variety of special needs.

One of the toddlers at the playgroup at Burnley Wood Community Centre enjoys the activities.

There was another reason to celebrate recently when new signage, paid for by the Ward Opportunities Fund, was erected to direct visitors to the centre in Springfield Road.

Karen said: "I am thrilled with the new signs and very grateful to councillors Cosima Towneley and Darren Fleming for their help with this."