Published: Wednesday, 10th March 2021

Ground was broken at Leslie Smith Square, Woolwich, today by the Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Equalities Cllr Adel Khaireh; and Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Anthony Okereke.

The works to create a new building for the community centre will be funded by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Planning permission was granted on 16 December 2020 to extend and refurbish the former Ezra Centre building to create a new home for the Woolwich Common Community Centre and Balloon Day Nursery who will relocate from their existing premises.  

Cllr Adel Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Equalities, said:  

The refurbishment of The Ezra Centre will give it a new lease of life to serve the next generation of our young residents with the modern facilities they deserve and the rest of the local community with a smart, bright and friendly centre that’s flexible to their needs. I’m proud to say that it’s not the only public building the Council is investing in for our communities – The Plumstead Centre reopened last year, work is about to begin on the Tramshed arts and community hub, and Woolwich Works and Kidbrooke community health centre are on the horizon too.” 

The construction works are being carried out on the Council's behalf by Standage & Co. refurbishment contractors. The large wrap around garden will be reclaimed and brought back into use. The new centre will have two large halls, to host community events, three large multipurpose halls to hold a variety of local groups and classes, a café, kitchen and shared office space.

The community centre and nursery will both have direct access to the newly landscaped garden and large new windows will flood the spaces with natural light. The centre will be fully accessible, with the higher standard of Changing Places toilet facilities, and solar panels on the roof to provide a renewable energy source.

Works to the front of the building will create a friendlier and more attractive main entrance onto Leslie Smith Square.

Cllr Anthony Okereke and Cllr Adel Khaireh were joined by Claire Pritchard the Chief Executive of GCDA, Jane Downes the Manager of Woolwich Common Community Centre and Chris Brain the Managing Director of Standage.