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Brandon Centre celebrates grand opening

Published: Saturday 28th September 2013 at 11:00

Brandon Centre celebrates grand opening

After months of refurbishment work to the old school building in Brandon, the new Brandon Centre, a flagship community facility, has celebrated its grand opening.

The event followed a soft opening of the centre on Tuesday, giving staff a few days to iron out any last minute problems and add those finishing touches.

Located just off Bury Road and next to Market Hill, The Brandon Centre is now home to Brandon Library, Forest Heath District Council, Brandon Safer Neighbourhood Team, Brandon Pre-School Playgroup and a children's centre. There are also public meeting facilties which can be used by local people.

Funded by Suffolk County Council and Forest Heath District Council, the £1.6 million project has also seen the Bury Road car park refurbished and resurfaced to create an additional 21 parking spaces for visitors to the town and the Brandon Centre. A new entrance has been created in the centre of the building which allows easy access from the newly landscaped car park.

The centre will be open weekdays from 9am and weekends from 10am, closing at 5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, at 5.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3pm on Sundays and 7pm on Fridays. New toilets, including disabled facilities, are located inside the new building and will open the same hours as the main building. 

The new library, which is now offering free WiFi to it's customers and a new self-service machine, will continue to open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am. The opening times of Brandon Safer Neighbourhood Team's front desk will also remain unchanged and will open from 12 noon until 2pm on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

Suffolk County Council's deputy leader Lisa Chambers, along with Brandon resident and caretaker of the old school Charlie Wharf, cut the ribbon to  officially open the centre at 2pm on Saturday 28th September. The opening event coincided with a range of fun activities and stalls on Market Hill from 11am.

Lisa said "The Brandon Centre is an excellent example of public sector organisations working together to save old public buildings and provide better community services at the same time.

"We have listened very carefully to what services people wanted in the centre. We want to encourage as many people as possible to come into the building and see what has been done and is on offer.

"I'd especially like to thank local county, district and town councillors who have helped us to run today's event and activities. I'm sure the Brandon Centre will very quickly become a focal point for the town and serve it well for years to come."

Councillor Robin Millar, Forest Heath District Council cabinet member for families and community, added:

"This is a welcome improvement but it is more than just a new building - we are changing the way we work with residents and want to encourage them to get involved in shaping their communities and the services they need help with."

Commenting on the relocated Brandon library, Suffolk Libraries' General Manager, Alison Wheeler, said:

"We are pleased to be part of this exciting community project and I hope local people will enjoy accessing all the services and activities we have to offer in a modern and attractive new library for Brandon."

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, commented:

"The Brandon Centre is a superb example of the public sector working together to deliver excellent community services right in the heart of the community they serve.

"I am very pleased that Brandon's safer neighbourhood team will be housed alongside other key local services and I am sure the centre will be quickly established as a real community hub by those living in the town and provide easy access to the Constabulary."

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