COMMUNITY spirit has played a vital role in the launch of a new leisure centre in Hucknall, which has been created for the benefit of cash-strapped residents.
Hucknall East Community Leisure has opened in the former premises of a shop off Portland Road that used to sell koi carp fish.
But there is nothing fishy about the new venture, which is the brainchild of single mum-of-three Lani Priestley and Keg Capeness, supremo of Hucknall Town Kickboxing Club.
For its aim is to provide a service to support families in the nearby Butlers Hill area who are struggling to make ends meet.
The centre has been opened thanks to donations from local businesses and the efforts of tradesmen who have worked for free to get the building up to scratch.
“It has been unbelievable,” said Lani (39), of Green Close. “It has all been about community investment. Had we not had the support, it would have cost us as much as £10,000.
“This is all about the community. We appealed to businesses and locals and they came out in force to support our efforts. We cannot thank them enough.
“Butlers Hill is a poor area. There are very few community ventures and we wanted to fill that gap.”
Those behind the leisure centre took on the premises seven weeks ago. It was open for business only a week later.
The centre features a large hall with a boxing ring, a studio, reception area and a weights room.
Already it boasts 45 members and is the new home of Hucknall Town Kickboxing Club.
Hucknall Dramatic Society is using the building for rehearsals, while other activities include cage-fighting and mixed martial arts. Judo lessons might start soon.
Community groups are invited to use the premises, where everything is at a reduced price.
As a thankyou to those who have helped get the leisure centre off the ground, a VIP day was held last Sunday. Supporters were given a Sunday lunch and glass of wine before sitting down for nine kickboxing fights.
“It was to thank the people who have made all this possible,” said Lani. “Now we want to community to use the building. It would all count for nothing if it stood empty.”
n OUR PHOTO shows members of Hucknall Town Kickboxing Club at the new leisure centre’s VIP day — DISPIC 11-0929-1.