Work has started on a multi-purpose building for the New Wortley Community Association.
The facility on Tong Road will house most of the centre’s services including the café, meeting rooms and shop.
It is planned that the existing building will be refurbished and used as a wellbeing centre.
The project, which netted a £686,674 Big Lottery Fund grant, is being led by the Project Office (PO) at Leeds Beckett University with the new building based on designs by Vahagn Mkrtchyan, a graduate of the university.
Founded and managed by Architecture lecturers Simon Warren and Craig Stott, the PO was formed as an architectural consultancy under the umbrella of the university’s School of Art, Architecture and Design, giving students chance to work with real clients.
Mr Stott said: “The construction phase of the project is going to be used as a learning tool for architecture students, with them being taken on site and experiencing first-hand the consequences of constructing what we have designed. The new centre will have a significant impact on the quality of life for many within the community and allow the terrific work that the centre currently undertakes to expand.”
More than 600 people use the New Wortley community centre’s facilities but the current building is over 30 years old.
Maureen Ingham, the centre’s vice chair, said: “When people come through the door it turns their life around. It may just be three hours with a cup of tea. It may be that there’s a social event gone on and somebody’s asked them to join in and they don’t realise that they’ve been propelled forward and out of that social isolation.”
The new centre is due to open in April 2016.