Published: 00:00, 17 July 2014 |
Updated: 10:17, 17 July 2014
The Greenhithe Community Centre in Alexander Road was draughty and cold, the toilets and kitchen were not fit for purpose and parking was a problem.
Cue Angie Ward, who began volunteering as the centre’s secretary in 2010 after illness forced her to give up her job as a secretary and payroll manager.
The 55-year-old convinced her husband Eddie to volunteer as the booking clerk, and he took over as chairman in 2011.
Straight away the couple, of Hasted Close, Greenhithe, began to turn the centre around.
Eddie, 76, said: “I hadn’t appreciated how much local charities struggle to get volunteers. I was shocked to see the state of the facilities.
“It has been a challenge but we now have a community centre to be proud of.”
The couple accumulated grants from Dartford council and Kent County Council totalling £32,000.
The centre now has double glazing as well as a new overflow car park, toilets, kitchen and energy efficient lighting.
It was reopened in all its glory on Saturday and Angie and Eddie were presented with Dartfordian Award – the borough’s highest accolade – at the same time.
Angie said: “I have gained so much from the experience, from the challenge of learning how to fill in grant applications to the joy of seeing the transformation of the centre.
“These improvements have only been made possible by the support of our fellow trustees and local councillors.”
They were the first Dartfordian Awards presented this year.
Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite (Con) and the town’s mayor Cllr Avtar Sandhu and Mayor of Swanscombe and Greenhithe Cllr Susan Butterfill all gathered for the ribbon cutting.
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