Dancers, DJ’s and martial arts experts joined community wardens and even councillors, as more than one hundred people turned out to celebrate the first birthday of a popular community centre.

Following a lengthy campaign The Limes Centre, Chigwell, was opened in February 2012, replacing the dilapidated community hall which stood before it.

Residents of Limes Farm who use the £1 million facility celebrated its success yesterday, saying that it is a vast improvement on the previous centre, and provides somewhere for their children to go.

41 year-old Eze Onyeka, who lives in Copperfield, Chigwell,said that he and his family have been going to the community centre since the rebuild.

He says: “We did not use it before but my children have been coming here for the last year.

“I have three girls of different ages and the Limes Centre provides something for all of them to do. It is a lot better.”

Seated exercise for the elderly and bingo sessions ran, before dance groups, amateur theatre performances and DJ sessions were held.

In the large hall voluntary groups, community health teams, housing officers and community wardens were on hand to offer help and advice to residents, which they would not normally have such immediate access to.

Organiser Patrick Arnold said that he and his team wanted to use the event to show the community just how much the facility can do for them.

He said: “It is great to see so many people and give them the chance to show how we can help them here.

“We want to do so many new things and we are thinking of opening a community cafe soon so that people can come and spend time here.”

The Limes Centre hosts a number of clubs and activities each week and can also be hired at a low cost for residents’ parties, and even weddings.

Although the Limes Farm Estate is considered to be a troubled area, the centre seems to be thriving a year in.

Essex Watch Liaison officer, Colin Freeman, who attended the event of behalf of the police, said people living in Chigwell are lucky to have access to the centre. He said:

“I think that the community centre should be treasured and used by residents to its full potential.

“It is so good to have something like this on your doorstep.”

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