Three-year-olds Clara Sore and Jaxon Lerman were among those who had the honour of unveiling a new plaque as members of the local community officially opened Mildenhall Hub this afternoon.
The Mildenhall Hub is a nationally recognised ground-breaking initiative to bring public services together to improve the health, well-being and education for the community in a collaborative way.
The ambitious new building features a new school, new gym, fitness studios and 3G pitch, swimming pools and sports hall, a new town library, health centre, children’s centre, Citizens Advice West Suffolk and job centre. The Hub also features office space for the NHS, police, Suffolk County Council and West Suffolk Council. As well as providing better facilities such as the school and leisure provision, the Hub will see partners in education, health, leisure and other services working even more collaboratively for the benefit of residents.
Today saw students Esme Perpetuo and Stanley Turner from Mildenhall College Academy, join Clara Sore and Jaxon Lerman from Little Treasures nursery, and Sonal Balrey, a Mildenhall Library customer, join three Abbeycroft Leisure users to unveil a plaque to mark the official opening of the Hub following its phased opening over the summer.
Esme said: “It’s so good, I think it is really big, clean, spacious and it is a really good learning environment for the school.”
Stanley said: “It is a really easy layout, the building is amazing, it is really modern and a lot better than our old school plus it has loads of really good facilities, such as the gym and pool – then you have everything in the school, the cooking rooms, the design technology rooms – it’s great.”
Andrew Squire from Mildenhall was one of the first members of the Mildenhall Sharks to use the old pool in Recreation Way, and his parents Beryl and John Squire were two founder members of the committee that raised funds for the community pool.
Andrew said: “The opening of the original swimming pool and being a member of Mildenhall Sharks from aged nine, made a huge impact on my early life. Regular training sessions and travelling the county and beyond for swimming galas with colleagues was so much fun; providing memories to last me a lifetime. If the new facilities at The Hub can provide individuals with the same experiences these will be a great asset to the local community.”
Geraint Jones, Vice President of The Mildenhall Sharks swimming club said: “The Hub is so important because it combines all the aspects of life in a small county town. We have a beautiful new swimming pool with space for all our swimmers and opportunity to develop the club to include triathlon and learn to swim.
“The young members of The Sharks are greatly motivated with the new facilities and we’re looking forward to what we can achieve as a community club.”
Colleen Duffield is a member of Abbeycroft Leisure and has used the leisure facilities more than any other member since it’s opening in June.
Colleen said: “The Hub is fantastic and I love the new leisure facilities. We used to have to use all different buildings and locations, so having it all under one roof is brilliant.”
“I became a member of Abbeycroft six years ago after I broke my ankle and I had gained a lot of weight and it’s fair to say I now have the fitness bug. I feel so much healthier having lost weight and being active but I’ve made so many friends and a facility like this helps people feel part of a community.”
“It’s so good, I think it is really big, clean, spacious and it is a really good learning environment for the school.”
Sonal Balrey has been a regular user of the Mildenhall library since 2013 and praised the friendly staff. She added: “Being in the Mildenhall Hub makes it so much easier when I am taking my children swimming or to karate as it is all in one place.”
They were watched on by representatives of the funding partners that made the Hub possible: West Suffolk Council, Education and Skills Funding Agency, Academy Transformation Trust, Suffolk County Council, the National Lottery, Sport England and the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner. Also attending were the organisations that use the building and a wide range of community stakeholders.
The Mildenhall Hub has been built by RG Carter with project management from Currie & Brown and design from Concertus.
For more on the Mildenhall Hub visit www.mildenhallhub.info