SOUTHAMPTON’S latest Sure Start centre is taking shape as work on a new £1m community centre has begun. Workmen have moved into the site at Townhill Park to replace the outdated former building with a purpose built centre. A turf-cutting ceremony was held to mark the start of the work. As well as the new Sure Start centre, that will provide a one-stop service to help support families with children under five, the two-storey building will also be a new home to All Hallows Too pre school and a Scout group.

The new centre is being built following a lengthy consultation and is being funded by Southampton City Council and the DCfS Sure Start Children’s Centre programme.

The scheme will see contractor Morgan Ashurst demolish the existing centre at Meggeson Avenue and replace it with a modern, multi-purpose building.

Councillor Paul Holmes, Southampton City Council’s Cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “Sure Start is a genuine success story in Southampton. It has made a real difference to families so I’m delighted that we’re rolling the service out even further.Providing excellent facilities for our communities and enabling people to enjoy a wide range of activities to improve the quality of their lives on our estates is vital. “Promoting health and wellbeing and providing learning opportunities is one of the most important investments we can make for the families living in Townhill Park, which is why are spending nearly £1 million to provide this new centre.”

Simon Dennison, Sure Start Central manager, said: “We are proud of our partnership between Townhill Park Community Association, voluntary groups, residents and government agencies. We look forward to continuing to build on this, for the benefit of the whole community.. We’re also looking forward to expanding opportunities for Southampton’s Sure Start parents including parenting courses, training, nutrition groups and a community kitchen.”

The centre is expected to open this time next year with a grand opening ceremony.