Since the inception of the Centre much work and time has been put in by many Trustees on the Management Committee to create the Centre it is today, a fine building for use by local residents and those in surrounding areas. The early years of the Centre proved a challenging period.
The fabric of the building needed much attention. The inside of the building had to be made good and safe for our potential hirers. The outside also had to look inviting. There was little money and much fund-raising was done by many including the running of the annual Carnival. The Trustees were pleased to become a Polling Station in 1979 for a political Election. These have been ongoing since then which have contributed to our much needed income. The Parish Council, our residual Trustees, has for many years been able to grant us funds to help in difficult times and with essential ongoing work.
In the mid-1990s it was agreed that the wooden floor in the main hall needed replacing because of damp coming through the external walls. A grant was received from the Federation of Sports & Arts. Again our supporters were very generous. A wooden floor was then put down and a new stage. It has been laid on a base of hardcore and 6” of concrete. This floor is now regularly maintained as it has to last for many years.
Our next large project was the building of a two storey extension now known as The Stables. We received a National Lottery grant of £212,000 plus other funding from other bodies. A lift was installed at this time and our main kitchen completely revamped with modern stainless steel equipment. Earl Spencer opened the extension in February 2000. The History Society then applied for funding for their Museum built to the right of the Centre – a great asset to the village.
A great deal of refurbishment has taken place by removing old systems and the updating of the central heating and hot water systems, electrical and fire alarm systems. The Trustees have to be on top of all the legislation and checking of equipment etc. Our insurance is very high and we have to make sure that we comply with the Health and Safety requirements. In fact our Centre is now a Reception Centre for Long Buckby in case of emergency. We have three part-time members of staff, a Booking Secretary, Caretaker and Cleaner who do much to contribute to the running of the Centre.
Our last tenant, the Snooker Club ceased trading in January 2008. In order to put the Centre on a sound financial footing, Sure Start Children’s Centre was taken on with a twenty-five year lease on their downstairs office with the use of the main hall during the week at designated times. To obtain more hiring space it was decided to apply for funding to develop the old upstairs snooker club. In order to seek further grants the Trustees had to agree to the upper part of the building being used for community use.
Phases 1 and 2 are now complete. We have a new upper hall and a smaller room for hire. With funding from our principal partners Long Buckby Parish Council and generous donations from local charities such as the Buckby Feast, William Haynes Trust we are nearing completion of Phase 3.
Redevelopment of the front area of first floor has provided dedicated rooms for an essential community service hirer School Wrap, and now the whole of the first floor has now been opened up to the main stairs and lift in the Stables with the additional of toilet facilities on the first floor.