Rebuilding work is to start soon

An artist’s impression of the new centre

An artist’s impression of the new centre

First published in Oxford Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

WORK to rebuild a community centre torched in a suspected arson attack could begin as soon as September, campaigners say.

Tenders have gone out to rebuild Dean Court Social Club in Pinnocks Way, with the hope it will open early next year.

For years, residents in West Oxford wanted to transform the derelict club into a bustling community centre.

But their hopes were dashed when the building burned down in February last year.

Dean Court Community Association chairman Anna Pearson said: “Time is absolutely flying, when you look at the building and consider that just over a year ago we watched a fire tear through the building.

“We are now registered as a company and a charity and things are really starting to happen.

“Everything is taking a bit longer than we would have hoped but we are still optimistic about starting to build in September.

“The tenders are out now, so once a building company has been appointed, we will hopefully have a building by January.”

The plans have been boosted by a series of grants from councils, the Natwest CommunityForce scheme and from Oxfordshire County Council.

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The latter handed out £15,600 from its Big Society Fund to provide extra space for young children adjacent to the playground.

This will provide up-to-date facilities for disabled people and windows along the back of the building, so children can be supervised at all times.

The fund has also received a boost from the fundraising efforts by three Pinnocks Way teenagers.

Justin Dallimore, 14, Mikey Champ, 15, and Tyler Cooper, 12, all took part in a sponsored sleepout and raised more than £200.

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