Lansbury Park community pulls together to demand centre renovation
Residents have joined with councillors to call on Caerphilly County Borough Council to renovate a disused community centre.
Lansbury Park, in Caerphilly town, is in the St James ward, which last year was named as the most deprived area in Wales.
Residents claim that despite a good community spirit, there are no facilities in safe distance for youngsters and older people on the estate.
St James councillor Elaine Forehead launched a petition calling on the council to regenerate the derelict former community centre on Graham Court on the Caerphilly town housing estate.
She was joined by residents to petition in the area, who said they used the community centre while growing up for discos, jazz band practice, judo and other community activities.
They also lamented the loss of activities for older people and said there used to be coffee mornings and bingo events at the community centre.
Diane Wiegold, 37, said: “We used to have carnivals based here and all the streets would compete against each other but there’s no community anymore.
“People here are nice people but there’s just no facilities. It’s just a waste of a building.”
Jonathan Adler, 34, said: “I started judo there and there were discos every weekend and coffee mornings for the pensioners.
“They say it’s a bad estate, it’s always negative, but when we want to do something positive we don’t get any support.”
Cllr Forehead is confident the community and council can work together to find a new use for the building.
She said: “I’m absolutely amazed and I’m so proud of everyone here. I’m sure we’ll fight hard enough to get it done.”
Cllr Christine Forehead said she hoped the centre could be used for services such as a nappy exchange service.
She said: “You go to the supermarket and see offers for packs of 18 nappies. People around here can’t afford to buy that many at a time but could afford to pick up three or four from an exchange.”
Labour councillor Gez Kirby was also out with residents supporting the call for action.
He said: “This is the area that’s the most deprived area in all of Wales, but you can see there’s community spirit here and they need a centre to represent that.”
The petition is due to be handed into a meeting of full council by residents and Cllr Elaine Forehead tonight, March 10.
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