BULWELL’S new Riverside Centre is a “huge and innovative step forward” set to revolutionise the lives of local people.
So said the Sberiff of Nottingham, Coun Merlita Bryan (Lab), when she officially opened the groundbreaking £23 million venue.
Riverside, on Coventry Road, is the third of Nottingham’s joint service centres. Like the others, Clifton Cornerstone and Mary Potter Centre in Hyson Green, it brings together housing, health and social-care services all under one roof.
“But Riverside is our first centre of this kind to cater socially for the whole community, including children and teenagers,” Coun Bryan stressed.
A new library has been set up at the centre, replacing the 89-year-old building on Highbury Road.
Riverside is the result of Nottingham City Council working in partnership with the National Health Service (NHS) Nottingham City and Nottingham City Homes organisations.
“These partners, together with the Greater Nottingham LIFT Company, have developed not just a new building but one that embodies our commitment to improving local services for local people,” said Coun Bryan.
Funding came from the Department Of Communities And Local Government, Partnerships For Schools and the East Midlands Development Agency.
Coun Bryan said major funding was essential to overcome the challenges of building on a ‘brownfield’ (previously used) site next to the River Leen.
She looked forward to the centre addressing health and social inequalities, improving access to housing services and advice, and bringing the benefits of literacy and lifelong learning to many Bulwell families.
A programme of activities for the opening ceremony included the burial of a time capsule. Among items placed inside were a copy of the Dispatch and a poem written specially for the occasion by the paper’s former chief reporter, Denis Robinson.
The oldest and youngest members of the new library put in a date stamp, and the first child to use a toy library at the centre, JJ Edmiston, inserted a rattle. The capsule also contains a DVD of past and present Bulwell photos from the Friends Of Riverside group.
Sports taster sessions took place in the adjoining youth centre and other activities at the ceremony were dance displays, a teddy bears’ picnic and a visit by a ‘book doctor’.