December 9 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 5, 2013
After four years of hard work, a new centre has opened offering classes, advice surgeries and social groups.
The New North Road Community Centre had its official ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday with the founder saying it has been a “rollercoaster ride” to get it opened.
Dr Sohail Hameed, chairman of the Hainault and Chigwell Muslim Association, said he was tired but thrilled that the centre is now open.
“We have had our ups and downs and had lots of problems but got there in the end,” Dr Hameed said. “It was my vision and passion as there’s a need for a community centre.”
The centre, in Hainault, cost £150,000 to renovate, including a new roof, carpet and overall revamp.
“It was in very bad condition and we brought it back”, said Dr Hameed.
“We started from scratch and all the money was raised by us, not a single penny came from the council. People knew it was for a good cause and have been very generous.”
Dr Hameed hopes to have a legal advice centre, tuition classes for school children, police drop-in sessions as well as a doctor’s surgery which he will run.
“It’s a multifaith community centre and can be used by anyone,” Dr Hameed added. “People can also lease out the hall.”
One of the guests at the official opening was Shamshia Ali from the Redbridge Faith Forum, who said the centre has good facilities which her group hoped to make use of.
She said: “It was good to see so many local residents from a diverse range of backgrounds come together.
“This is an asset for Hainault and all those who live nearby and we look forward to holding events there.”
The building was formerly Hainault Working Men’s Club but it closed in 2008.
Residents had attempted to win the council’s support to reopen the building, but town hall chiefs instead backed the Hainault and Chigwell Muslim Association’s plan for the site.