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New community centre opens with event in Dee Park, Reading

Housing association Peabody and Reading Borough Council have opened Dee Park’s new community centre - ‘Dee Space’ - with a community event.
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The event was attended by 300 people including residents, councillors, and Reading’s Deputy Mayor, Glenn Dennis.

Guests enjoyed a tour of the new facilities, speeches, and a raft of fun activities for local people and families. This included a steel band, children’s entertainer, face painter, balloonist, and basketball games.

Joys Catering, a local enterprise, provided free Caribbean and British food, while The Ranikhet Childrens Centre, part of the Dee Space building, hosted a petting zoo for children.

Dee Space, nestled in the heart of Dee Park, offers local people a new hall, children’s centre, and meeting rooms. The spaces are available to hire for clubs, community groups, events and parties.

Groups have already started to use Dee Space, like the Ranikhet Childrens Centre. Grassrootz, a local youth group, are set to start sessions on Thursday evenings, which will include arts and crafts, sports and games, a mentoring programme and daytrips.

The Dee Park regeneration has transformed a 40-year-old residential estate into an exciting new living environment. Over 500 new homes have been delivered, with 177 social rent, 10 shared ownership and 268 private sale homes, alongside a 60-unit new extra-care facility. The scheme also includes improved landscaping, open spaces and play areas, shops, and Dee Space.

The name ‘Dee Space’ was chosen by residents in a public vote. Residents chose it from a choice of three names, all of which were suggested by local people in Dee Park.

The whole community will benefit from the new centre and can soon expect to see community bring-and-buy sales, festive activities, and surgeries where local people can pop-in and meet their Neighbourhood Customer Specialist – responsible for all housing-related matters.

Dee Park resident Naudia Nelson said: “Dee Space has been long awaited, and now we have a community space that will benefit everyone. I really enjoyed the day, and it was wonderful to see the community come together and celebrate.”

Sahil Khan, Director of Community Strategy, Partnerships and Funding at Peabody, said: “Its excellent to see the much-anticipated Dee Space now being used by local people – bringing everyone together for events, projects and celebrations. We’re looking forward to seeing how it will further strengthen the brilliant sense of community in the area.”

Ellie Emberson, Lead Councillor for Housing at Reading Borough Council, said: “We’re really pleased to see the new Dee Space facility opened in partnership between Reading Borough Council and Peabody. To have such a good turnout of residents for the opening shows the enthusiasm locally for such a great space. As a Council we’ve always recognised that such centres are a key to help communities come together, with this facility complementing twelve council owned and operated community centres around the borough. The Dee Park regeneration project has made a big difference to residents locally and we continue to work with Peabody to deliver more affordable homes for our residents.”

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