Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Spotlight on The Poppleton Centre

by Handy Mag

Situated at the heart of the community, the Poppleton Centre serves as the hub for village life, providing a welcoming space where local people can come together for leisure activities, community events or simply to catch up socially.

As the needs of the community continue to grow and change, the Centre is evolving to meet these new demands. We spoke with Bob Wood, a trustee of the Centre, to learn more about their Out o’ Space Project, an ambitious expansion designed to enhance the Centre’s facilities and services.

What is the history of The Poppleton Centre and how is it run?

Poppleton’s community centre, now known as The Poppleton Centre, was built in 1991 after enormous fundraising efforts by the local community. The Centre facilities include a sports hall, two meeting rooms, toilets, changing facilities and a café/bar. Surrounding the building is a sports field, bowling green and six tennis courts. It is widely used by people from the village and surrounding area and, as a charity, is managed by a group of energetic trustees who entrust day to day management to the Centre Manager, Beth Kirkham, and her two part-time support staff.

What makes The Poppleton Centre so special?

The trustees make every effort to ensure that The Centre is run on a commercial basis so that it can be well maintained, and its facilities can keep pace with the demands and need of the local community. To that end fundraising activities not only help much needed funds but also create fun and enjoyment in the locality. The annual Bonfire & Firework Spectacular draws a huge crowd from all over York, while more local events such as the Scarecrow Trail help to bring the village together. Our quarterly magazine, Centrepiece, is distributed free by volunteers to every one of the 2,000 homes in the village and is widely read. With all the many activities that go on at The Centre and the popularity of the café/bar, The Poppleton Social, the community centre really is the heart of the village.

What is the Out o’ Space Project?

The Centre is already at full capacity and the community is growing fast, with some 1,400 new homes planned for construction on the edge of the village, 400 of which are already being built – so we’re Out o’ Space and need to act now to make sure that we can keep up with the growing demand.

What is the target for fundraising?

Our target is £460,000 to achieve what we want to do and with building costs continually rising it’s becoming a race to get the funds together before costs increase again.

What changes will be made to The Poppleton Centre?

We have planning permission to add more meeting rooms on the ground floor, to enlarge The Poppleton Social and add further rooms above the existing ones. All of this is a long term plan and will depend on available funding.

What will be the benefit to the local community?

We are already turning away bookings for local people that want to introduce new activities. The new meeting rooms will enable the range of what we offer to grow – and will also mean that the cafe/bar can cope with increased demand.

How can the community get involved or help?

We have two ongoing fundraisers – one through GoFundMe where anyone who feels like helping can pledge their support by going online to gofundme.com/f/outospace-project. Another offers anyone the opportunity to ‘Put Your Name on the Building’ where we will literally include their name and those of their family and friends on the exterior of the new building, for just £25 per name. For more information on this, visit the Centre website poppletoncentre.org.uk or ask Beth Kirkham for help.

The community can also help by getting involved in the many fundraising activities we have planned.

Are there any events or fundraisers planned in the near future?

The next big one is the Poppleton Garden Trail where many village gardens will be open on the weekend of 29th/30th June so that for just £5 per adult (accompanied children under 16 free) trailers can browse some of the beautiful gardens that make Poppleton such a lovely village. For children, Quacker’s Quest will give them the chance to search out a host of funky ducks located in the gardens and there will be lots of refreshment opportunities around the village plus flower arranging demonstrations and other things to make it a great day out.

Also coming up is a gig by the Supermodels in the Lord Nelson beer garden on 25th August; the return of The Scarecrow Trail on 14th & 15th September; a Kids’ Hallowe’en Party in October; our fabulous Bonfire & Firework Spectacular on 5th November and a Christmas Market on 22nd November.

In 2025 Beth Kirkham and a team of 10 other hardy volunteers are doing a Trek to Everest base camp to raise funds for the Project. You really can’t give much more of a commitment than that. Anyone interested in joining the trek should get in touch with Beth by email at info@poppletoncentre.org.uk.

When do you anticipate construction will start and how long do you expect it to take?

We’re still fundraising hard, but we hope that we’ll start before the end of 2024 and be up and running early in the New Year.

Where can people find out more?

Go to our website poppletoncentre.org.uk to find out more or, better still, come along to The Centre and see for yourself what a great place it is. Chat to Beth if you think you can help (maybe your business would like to get involved or you’d like to organise a fundraising event) or just enjoy the hospitality of The Poppleton Social. You’ll be more than welcome.

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