An innovative new community project in a Bury church attic was opened with a celebratory event.
The Attic Project, set to be a hub for the whole community, is at Bury Spiritual Centre, at 3 Russell Street.
The building underwent a £100,000 transformation thanks to Great Places Housing Group, The Veolia Environmental Trust who awarded £58,384 through the Landfill Communities Fund, Greater Manchester Probation Trust and other partners and funders.
The project created several rooms and installed a wheelchair lift, a fire escape and central heating.
It’s now being used by Bury probation's Women's Centre, including offenders serving community sentences and people who have completed their orders. The group's aim is to reduce re-offending and support the participants' rehabilitation.
Project leaders are calling on local people to give their ideas for what else the centre can be used for - including sessions for young, older, vulnerable or unemployed people - so the community can get together and make it happen.
Anticipated activities could include IT courses, healthy eating programmes, a social club for over 50s, first aid/food hygiene courses, a youth club, and support/self-help groups for people with specific needs.
Mayor of Bury, Cllr Sharon Briggs, attended the opening event with project partners.
Other funders of the project, run by volunteers, include Prolinemec, Big Lottery Fund, Department of Work and Pensions, Great Places and Bury Council.
Great Places’ fundraising co-ordinator, Daniel Mountford, said: “This is a fantastic project and meeting space that’s much-needed in Bury. We’re delighted to have been involved in getting it off the ground.”
Chairman of the Attic Project, Robert Hughes, said: “This project started as a small idea which quickly grew into what it is today. The Attic Project is for the community to benefit from and we are sure from previous consultation that there is a need for the services that we can offer.”
Executive director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, adds: “It is great to hear that this important project is now complete and is being opened. It will make an important contribution to the community of Bury and the surrounding area and I look forward to hearing about the schemes, events, clubs and services that will be based there in the future.”
Justine McGill, probation officer, said: “The partners involved in this project deserve an awful lot of credit and I am delighted. The Attic means a great deal to us because it will provide a superb space for our acitivities to take place in.”