Community rallies round Cottonmill Centre fundraiser
- Credit: Andy Collin
Residents of Sopwell ward are gearing up to raise £20,000 for a new community and cycling centre.
The long-awaited hub is aiming to gain support from individuals and businesses through a Crowdfunder.
Michelle Mackenzie, chair of the Cottonmill and Sopwell Hub group said: "For £50 people can buy a brick engraved with family or business names which will be mounted on walls inside the new building."
People who donate early can get other rewards, including free meals from Cosa Nostra or The Cobbled Kitchen, vouchers from cycling shops, Jefferson Crafts or Pots of Art.
The groups began campaigning to build the centre in 2018 and contributed residents’ ideas to the design.
The building features two halls for hire, a community café, and a quiet and well-being room. There is a Changing Places toilet providing accessibility for people with disabilities, Wudu washing facilities, and sports changing rooms.
Chair of Sopwell Community Trust Nazir Uddin said: “Young people barely have any facilities or activities left in the Cottonmill area. This led us to set up St Albans Youth Project. We’re thrilled that we will now have a purpose-built centre where young people and families can meet safely.”
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The centre includes a purpose-built Cycle Hub offering bike servicing, hire, repairs, and reconditioned cycles at affordable prices. Outside, in addition to the existing BMX dirt track, Multi-Use Games area and football pitch there will be a new Cyclo-cross track, a pump track, and inclusive programme of cycle training sessions co-ordinated by the Cycle Hub.
St Albans council and Verulam Cycling Club have raised over £2million for the centre, which is being built on the site of the former Marlborough Pavilion, off Old Oak on Cottonmill Lane.
Building costs have risen substantially since the original plans, and SADC has asked the community to raise the last £79,000 for the building.
Chair of Sopwell Residents Association and member of the Cottonmill and Sopwell Hub Janet Charles said: “We urge people to look on our Crowdfunder and help us past the final challenges of getting this centre built! Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone over a cuppa in the community café when it’s all done.”