Inside the revamped hub aiming to be at the heart of the community

@The Grange on Bathurst Avenue
@The Grange on Bathurst Avenue

A revamped Blackpool hub is hoping to show that it is right at the heart of the community.

The former City Learning Centre in Bathurst Avenue, Grange Park, has been refurbished and rebranded with a modern new name – @The Grange.

PCSO Lizzie Mathews with Philip Wallace and James Dent

PCSO Lizzie Mathews with Philip Wallace and James Dent

Now open to the public it features a One Stop shop, the Grange pharmacy and the HIS community shop – a new concept run by HIS Provision.

There is also a community farm and cafe, the library and spaces for groups to meet such as Cubs and Scouts, Ga Ga dance school and Slimming World.

Bosses say they hope the whole community will make use of the hub and are asking people to come up with ideas for events and activities.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “I am delighted to see the transformation from the City Learning Centre to @The Grange complete.

“The new facility has the potential to become a vibrant hub at the centre of the Grange Park community and really help local residents access the services that they need right on their doorstep.

“Myself and my fellow ward councillor Maria Kirkland will be holding our ward surgeries there.

“We have donated funding from our ward budget to both improve the library facilities and support the open day on Saturday April 14. I look forward to seeing residents of all ages attend the open day and see the facilities for themselves.

“Grange Park already has a fantastic community feel and @The Grange will build on that and hopefully engage even more residents.”

The farm area was backed with big Lottery funding and is run by Groundworks Grow Blackpool and aims to be self sustaining.

The idea along with the community shop was developed by Blackpool’s Fairness Commission and aims to improve people’s physical and mental health and employability.

Chris Phillips, director of HIS Provision, said: “The emphasis is about restoring dignity, raising self-esteem, rebuilding confidence and work ethics through the many volunteering opportunities available throughout the site.

“As well as the shop volunteers can work on the farm, the library, the café as well as helping with the general running of the building, there really is something for everyone.”

@The Grange is being run by Groundwork on behalf of Blackpool Council and has a number of rooms available for hire as well as a large theatre space.

Groundwork’s development manager Cath Powell said “We are very keen to work with the residents to find out what they would like to see from the centre, we already have many activities planned including art workshops, growing sessions, a knit and natter group, rhyme time sessions, a community choir and lots more.

“We are urging the local residents to pop in for a brew and tell us what they would like to do @The Grange.”

Andrew Darron, Groundwork’s executive director, said: “The need for people to access high quality green open spaces for both physical and mental wellbeing, recreation, volunteering and training has become unprecedented in recent years and we expect far greater need in years to come.

“We hope that @The Grange will become a real hub of the local community and we are delighted to be involved in developing and delivering this exciting project.”