Rose Hill residents will get to experience what the much-anticipated Rose Hill Community Centre has to offer during the official opening on Saturday (30/1).
The £4.76m flagship building features a gym, meeting and conference facilities, social club, community library, advice centre, youth suite, changing rooms, health facility and ballroom.
It will become the new home of Rose Hill and Donnington Advice Centre, Rose Hill Junior Youth Club, and Rose Hill Social Club – along with creating space for an all-new health, gym and sports facilities. Rooms in the building are also available to residents and groups to rent for community events, meetings, weddings, parties and more.
All activities are discounted for community groups and local residents. Booking the ballroom would normally costs £100 per hour, for example, but only costs £25 an hour for community groups and Rose Hill residents, while the gym only costs community groups and local residents £15 per month, compared to the normal price of £23 per month.
Part of Rose Hill is not only the most deprived in Oxford and within the 10 per cent most deprived in England, but 45 per cent of children in the area live below the poverty line. But despite this, Rose Hill is a vibrant and diverse community, and the community centre represents just one of a number of improvements to the area.
The sustainable building is environmentally friendly. It features a bank of 190 solar panels on the roof, which will generate about 57,000kWh of electricity a year, ground-breaking batteries to store excess electricity generated, low energy LED lights throughout and an electric car charging point outside.
The community centre is also part of the £1.2m Project ERIC (Energy Resources for Integrated Communities), which has seen solar panels and batteries installed in houses throughout Rose Hill to create a renewable energy grid and help residents reduce energy bills.
Project and cost managers Clarkson Alliance, architects ADP (Architects Design Partnership) and Beard Construction worked with engineers Qoda Consulting and Glanville Consulting Engineers to bring the new community centre to completion.
The grand opening will take place between 12pm and 4pm on Saturday (30/1) and will feature activities for the whole family – as well as a chance to see the new building for the first time. The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Rae Humberstone, will cut the ribbon and officially open the building at 12pm.
The former Rose Hill Community Centre in The Oval and the current advice centre will now be redeveloped to create much needed homes.
To book rooms at the new Rose Hill Community Centre please email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 01865 749597, or call in and see for yourself.
The Rose Hill Community Centre project began in 2012 after a residents’ survey showed overwhelming support for a new centre – 459 of the 587 people who voted in the survey opted for building a new community centre.
In 2012 and 2013, 72 residents from Rose Hill - both young and old - participated in an art project devised by artists Brook and Black. The artwork went on to inform the colour palette that now runs throughout the new building.
The design was developed using the latest 3D modelling technology, enabling local residents and community groups to gain a better understanding of the proposed scheme during the extensive consultation sessions.
Work on the new building began on 3 October 2014 with a breaking ground event.
The building was topped out on 19 June 2015 in a ceremony attended by 350 people, before a series of open days were held for the community, including local schoolchildren, to look around the building throughout the summer, autumn and winter.
The last brick was laid on 9 October 2015 by the family of Carole Roberts, a former City Councillor who campaigned for a new Rose Hill Community Centre.
Councillor Ed Turner, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “This is a really exciting time for Rose Hill.
“Our new community centre will be at the heart of our community for decades, and something we can all take a great deal of pride in.
“I am very grateful to everyone who has been involved in making this project a reality, as well as the dedicated team of volunteers who have run the previous centre for decades.”
Councillor John Tanner, Oxford City Council Executive Board Member for Climate Change, said: “The brand new Rose Hill Community Centre has the latest in green environmental features; everything from solar panels to its own charging point for electric cars.
“Rose Hill is embracing low carbon, cheaper energy and clean air, as well as an excellent centre for the community.”
Councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “I am delighted that residents in Rose Hill will benefit from the opportunity to access services, such as support to stop smoking, at the heart of their community.
“By providing services from the wonderful new community centre, we are taking practical steps towards improving the quality of public health by making it easier for people to take action and make the healthiest choices.”
Fran Gardner, Rose Hill Community worker, said: “We have moved some of our project work into the new centre and immediately the impact has been enormous.
"The children attending Junior Youth Club are so excited at the space, the facilities, the freedom that the building offers.
"We have been made very welcome by the centre staff who are happy to help us – whatever we ask for!”
Wayne Dobbins, director of Architects Design Partnership, said: “We are delighted to see the opening of the new Rose Hill Community Centre.
“The building has been designed following close collaboration with Oxford City Council, community service providers and local residents.
“It will provide improved community facilities for current and future generations of Rose Hill residents, and we hope it will quickly become a focal hub in the heart of the community.”
Graham Clarkson, Managing Director of Clarkson Alliance, said: “Working with Oxford City Council to define their objectives for the community centre and delivering on that exact vision has been paramount. Engagement with the public and gaining their interest and feedback has been a huge part of this project.
“Clarkson Alliance is proud to lead the team that has delivered and maintained the local authority’s original vision – an enduring multi-use site to meet the needs of a diverse community.
“The new building provides residents with a wide range of facilities, including health and fitness, which will enrich the lives of those living in Rose Hill.”
John Youle, director at Beard Construction, said: “We are very proud to have been chosen to build this new community centre, and deliver such a much needed asset for the local community. We managed to find cheaper construction solutions for the customer, which is only possible when the whole team works together to achieve a common goal”
Tiffany Black, from Brook & Black, said: "Brook & Black are very pleased to have been able to integrate the outcomes of working with over 75 people from five different community groups into a coherent interior colour scheme, original window works, two sets of photographic works, a series of children’s artworks and two colourful murals, all as permanent artworks for the building and the community. We very much hope that the colour and vitality in the artwork reflects the aspirations for the future of the building."
A spokesperson for Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) is utilising space in the new community centre at Rose Hill, to enable a range of health services to be delivered. This is a unique opportunity to deliver health care in the community to address the key issues and improve the health of the local population.
“The space available comprises three clinical rooms, a treatment room and a meeting room. Discussions have been taking place with a range of providers for services which are currently commissioned either by OCCG or by Public Health.
“The following services are being considered to start seeing patients in the centre in the spring: stop smoking service; counselling and Talking Space; Mind wellbeing; enhanced primary care services for people with long term conditions. Some hospital services which could be provided from the Community Centre, such as ophthalmology and women’s services, are also being considered.”