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New activity centre transforms disused Cranbrook bowling club into friendly hub

PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 October 2015 | UPDATED: 14:00 13 October 2015

The Mayor of Redbridge, Cllr Barbara White (centre) with friends, volunteers and supporters of The Cranbrook Centre at the opening of the Cranbrook Centre in Redbridge. Picture Vickie Flores

The Mayor of Redbridge, Cllr Barbara White (centre) with friends, volunteers and supporters of The Cranbrook Centre at the opening of the Cranbrook Centre in Redbridge. Picture Vickie Flores

Vickie Flores/Archant

A grand three-day event saw three community organisations join forces to resurrect the former Cranbrook Park Bowling Club into a multi-facility hub for people to enjoy activities and learn new skills.

L to R: Co-founder and president of Arthritis self help network, Diane Wynne Fitzgerald, Ian Chambers from East London Radio, Winner of the volunteering award, Tony Wright, Chair of Redbridge Music Lounge, Chris Wyatt at the opening of the Cranbrook Centre in Redbridge. Picture Vickie FloresL to R: Co-founder and president of Arthritis self help network, Diane Wynne Fitzgerald, Ian Chambers from East London Radio, Winner of the volunteering award, Tony Wright, Chair of Redbridge Music Lounge, Chris Wyatt at the opening of the Cranbrook Centre in Redbridge. Picture Vickie Flores

Officially opened by Barbara White, mayor of Redbridge on Friday, The Cranbrook Centre is now home to the Arthritis Self-Help Network (ASNet), East London Radio (ELR) and Redbridge Music Lounge (RML).

Diane Wynne-Fitzgerald, founder of ASNet spoke about the benefits of the centre to the community.

She said: “This is a brilliant facility with three organisations working together to provide a range of programmes seven days a week.”

The groups will host projects involving charity work, arts, media production and music.

Thomas Chan, deputy lieutenant of Redbridge, helped raise the new Cranbrook Centre flag in Valentines Park. Picture Vickie Flores.Thomas Chan, deputy lieutenant of Redbridge, helped raise the new Cranbrook Centre flag in Valentines Park. Picture Vickie Flores.

Chris Wyatt, of RML, said the aim was to transform the disused space into a thriving disabled friendly hub whilst retaining the heritage of the bowling club.

Founded in 1912, the bowling club’s first president, Frederick Dane, played in an international game (England v Australia) as reported by the Ilford Recorder on June 3, 1922.

Bowling continued during the First World War but was stopped one afternoon by police because of a Zeppelin bombing raid at Central Park, East Ham.

The club’s popularity continued after the Second World War but closed in 2012 due to a decline in membership.

Calling the park a beautiful location, Ian Chambers of ELR, said he was excited to give people the chance to learn radio.

Tony Wright, who worked as project manager to get the centre up and running won a volunteering award for his efforts.

The project was funded by grants received from The Grange Farm Trust, The Big Lottery. Awards 4 All scheme and through charity events.

Diane called the centre “a dream come true” after waiting 14 years for a venue that met the needs of all the groups under “one roof”.

For more information email Diane at asnetlondon@gmail.com.


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