New Look for Community Centre

7 June 2011

Work is well under way on a two-month project to repaint Newtown Community and Cultural Centre on Colombo Street. Built as a church in 1913, it has operated as a community centre since 1977.

One of the centre's two community coordinators, Anna Porter, says that the centre boasts a fully equipped theatre, dance studio and meeting rooms. It is used by a variety of groups for everything from martial arts to church services.

As well as being hired out by community groups, the centre also operates its own programmes. These include tai chi, pilates and yoga classes, a youth mentoring programme, and a school holiday programme. Three youth workers are based in the centre and work with schools in the area.

The centre is also developing a time banking project where residents earn time credits by doing tasks for others, for example dog walking or gardening. The time credits can then be exchanged to have work done.

"It's a great way for people to get to know one another and build a more resilient community," says Anna.

The centre is also home to Debt Free Newtown, a group of locals addressing the issues of debt and high-interest lending in the Newtown community.

More information:

Newlands Community and Cultural Centre website