Excitement filled the air on Saturday, 20 May, as the Stanway Lakelands Centre was officially handed over to its new tenant, the Anti Loo Roll Brigade (ALB).
ALB was announced as Colchester City Council’s preferred tenant earlier this year and had been working around the clock since March to prepare the building for its official opening and a special community open day.
In addition to providing a vibrant community centre with space for a wide range of community groups and charities, parts of the building will also be available for hire and for fun and play. The building will also support ALB's existing work by becoming its new headquarters.
The modern, fully accessible facility was project-managed by Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd, one of Colchester City Council’s wholly owned companies, part of Colchester Commercial Holdings Ltd.
The centre was carefully designed by architects Barefoot and Gilles to complement new homes and an extensive area of green space earmarked for a new country park, providing versatile spaces for residents and community groups. Local firm Huttons Construction Ltd completed the building at the end of 2022.
The stunning new community centre, whilst located in Stanway, will serve others across Colchester. Its fully accessible 504sqm space can accommodate over 200 people and occupies two floors served by a lift. It features a vast main hall with a sprung floor, a second spacious function room, meeting and interview rooms alongside a large, fully functional kitchen, toilets and Changing Places facility, and eventually a sensory room.
Boasting an impressive array of features to cater to the diverse needs of the community and support a range of activities for people of all ages, the building also features a Changing Places facility, lightning-fast gigabit speed broadband, ample parking (including EV charging), and a creative and inclusive play area for children with additional needs.
The spacious and modern facilities also make it an ideal venue for events such as weddings and conferences. The surrounding parkland offers an attractive natural setting for outdoor activities and leisurely relaxation, while a unique and exciting new play park that is fully accessible for people with disabilities will provide a welcoming and accommodating environment for all.
Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, said: “The Lakelands Community Centre is an absolute gem, set to become a vibrant hub of activity connecting communities in Stanway and beyond. What already sets it apart is the warm and inviting atmosphere it radiates. It's truly exceptional!
“I am delighted that, as a council, we have been able to deliver a very accessible state-of-the-art building and community facility that will no doubt play a key role in boosting Colchester's reputation as a vibrant and inclusive city for many years to come, thanks to the excellent work of the Anti Loo Roll Brigade. With their dedication and hard work, the centre is poised to become a shining example of what can be achieved when a community comes together to create something special.”
Anti-Loo Roll Brigade founder Peter Dutch said: “We are extremely grateful and thankful for the opportunity to run this amazing new facility, which will allow us to provide support and help to children in need, as well as being a great community centre and a place to bring fun, laughter and joy to many.”
Facilities and services on offer at the Lakelands Centre include:
- The Rose Therapy Centre – providing and facilitating free counselling and therapy for children who have suffered trauma, working in partnership with specialist agencies and eventually providing free language and speech therapy and occupational therapy for local children who can't afford or don’t have access to treatment.
- A large upstairs boardroom – for hire, training, first-aid, yoga, etc.
- Downstairs – a large hall accommodating sports, parties, SEN groups, dancing, Raver Tots; substantial kitchen space; the ALB café opening onto a patio and fully accessible outside play area featuring a pétanque rink, trampolines and swings; and space for partners Phoenix Heroes to create a veterans’ hub and community allotment on an adjoining plot.
Pictured above, L-R: Cllr Jackie Maclean, Cllr Jeremy Hagon, Cllr Lesley Scott-Boutell, Peter Dutch, Cllr Tracy Arnold, Cllr David King.
Page last reviewed: 25 May 2023