Community base turns full circle

Improved: Coun Caroline Moon at Moss Side Community Centre, Leyland
Improved: Coun Caroline Moon at Moss Side Community Centre, Leyland

A Leyland meeting hub which came under fire for its bad reputation is making a comeback.

Moss Side Community Forum took control of the Dunkirk Lane centre 12 months ago, and it has since gone from strength to strength.

Now, Coun Caroline Moon, who was a driving force behind the changes, wants to encourage teenagers to use the new facilities, to prevent them from reverting to their old ways.

She said: “We’re so proud of the youths for not smashing the new windows and vandalising the newly painted walls.

“It used to be really bad, and young people would bang on the doors when the centre was in use.

“People didn’t feel safe going there, it had such a reputation for trouble, and it became derelict after a while.”

She added: “Now, it seems like everyone respects how much work and effort has been put into improving the area, so they’re not causing anymore damage, which is great.”

The wall which was previously covered in graffiti has been painted dark red, and has been left untouched by the vandals.

Coun Moon now wants to thank the younger residents by introducing new facilities to the centre for them to enjoy.

“We’re working with the police to try to come up with ideas to help get the youths involved in a positive way,” she said. “We need to be realistic about what they’ll want, because you can’t force things on them.

“We’ll need some feedback from the teens themselves before we go ahead with anything.”

The grant-funded revamp also included a new roof, and the play group raised enough money to install a new kitchen and create an innovative outdoor playing area.

Coun Moon said: “The play group is the centre’s biggest user, and has really kept to building going, even when it became quite run-down.

“The play area is beautiful, and people have started to comment on how good the centre is looking now.”

New community groups are starting to open at the centre, such as gentle exercise class through Age Concern. It also caters for drama, dance, scouts and baby clinic groups.

Once more money is raised, the revamp will continue with a new lick of paint indoors, and Coun Moon also hopes to help an Over 60s friendship group open up.