By Thomas Hewitt
Unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham and local MP Lilian Greenwood, the new Hope Centre has opened on Southchurch Drive.
It has moved from the St Francis’ Church building on Farnborough Road, which is due to close later this year.
The new centre on Southchurch Drive will be open seven days a week and features a community café, a 150-capacity auditorium, youth and children’s space, offices, kitchen, store and meeting facilities.
It will also be the home for the church’s partner organisations, including the Enthusiasm Trust and the NG11 Foodbank.
Pastor of the Hope Church Stephen Hackney has been working tirelessly, alongside his wife Jo Hackney and their team, to make the opening of the new centre a reality.
Mr Hackney said: “It’s been such a great day and a wonderful time of celebration and hard work. Its been four years in the making and we have finally got there in the end.
“I would like to thank everybody who came along and volunteered to make this happen.
“We had over 45 to 50 people come in and give up their time to help us launch the new Hope Centre.
“We are just going to celebrate this centre going forward and the great contribution it is going to be able to make into the locality; serving local people, serving the life of the church and all of the various projects and ventures that we have to look forward to.”
In 2014, Hope Church Nottingham were awarded a £640,051 grant from the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities Building programme.
The church bought the former Roundabout Youth and Community Centre building on Southchurch Drive in March 2014, after three years of negotiation with the Police Authority, who originally wanted a new police station on the site.
Co-leader at the church Jo Hackney said the Hope Café would be a major part of the centre going forward.
She said: “Our vision for the Hope Centre is this will be a central place where people in the community can come together.
“We ran a public consultation to look at what the people wanted as part of the funding, and people especially at this part of the estate, were wanting a café.
“We are hoping the cafe will be multigenerational where mums and toddlers and older people can come in and have a chat.”
Children’s youth pastor at the Hope Centre Stuart Guthrie currently runs two youth clubs at the church and visits schools in the area, including Dovecote Primary and Farnborough Academy.
The 31-year-old said: “I think this building is going to be great because it allows us to extend what we are already doing in the community and it also offers a safe place for the children in the estate to chill out, play some games and do some activities.”
Clifton North Councillor Andrew Rule also volunteered his services during the event by helping set up a BBQ and raising funds for the NG11 Foodbank.
He said: “It’s been a really great day and I think this event will help to pull the community closer together. Anything that helps to raise the profile of the food bank in Clifton is excellent.”