New Leeds community centre has an academic touch

DESIGN DUO: Simon Warren and Craig Stott.
DESIGN DUO: Simon Warren and Craig Stott.
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An award winning community centre which was designed by Leeds Beckett University academics will officially open on Saturday, May 6.

Simon Warren and Craig Stott have led the New Wortley Community Centre project since plans began in 2009, before taking it on as their first major commission after founding the University’s Project Office in 2013.

The community-run centre opened its doors last summer on Leeds’s Tong Road and houses services including a café, meeting rooms and a shop.

The launch day will see the community celebrate everyone who helped turn the dream of building the centre into a reality. There will also be a photographic exhibition at the launch, which documents the journey of the building’s creation from plans to completion.

Earlier this month, Simon and Craig travelled to Portland State University in Oregon, USA to collect an international design award for the New Wortley Community Centre.

Speaking about the official opening of the Centre, Simon said: “The building is making a huge contribution to the community and it simply puts a smile on my face each time I visit.

“It is always friendly, welcoming and busy. I remind myself that this is a project of immense collaboration and everyone deserves credit for getting involved, using diverse skills and knowledge to make it a great example of community action.”

Funded by a £680,000 grant from The Big Lottery, the new building has been seven years in the making with a total of 196 people participating directly in the project. From New Wortley locals to undergraduates, postgraduates and staff from Leeds Beckett, plus professional consultants and contractors - all working together to bring the building to life,

Bill Graham, NWCC’s Community Leader, said: “It’s a fantastic looking building that really lifts the area and offers a visible symbol of hope to the local community. We plan to attract more investment and partners to the area to give New Wortley residents the opportunities they deserve.”