The Kingsmere Community and Youth Centre, which officially opened its doors in September 2018, has come a long way over the past year. Since opening, the number of hours used in the centre have more than doubled from 209 in September 2018 to 470 in September 2019. The number of regular hirers also increased from 40 in December 2018 to 77 by the end of November 2019.
Located in the middle of Countryside’s Kingsmere development, the community centre has become the focal point and heart of the community, offering not only a place for entertainment and sport but also a place of sanctuary and support.
Most recently, Nai’s House, a community interest group which offers a holistic approach to supporting 16-25 year olds with poor mental health, has opened at the Kingsmere Community Centre. Using the centre three times a week, Nai’s House offers counsel to young people in need and organise activities like yoga sessions and art therapy, among others.
In addition to the important work being done by charities, a recent focus area for the centre has also involved organising inter-generational events. Little Acorns, the pre-school at Kingsmere, is a key part of this programme – along with St. Edburg’s C of E Primary School, which is also located on the development.
There is a lot to look forward to between now and the end of the year. The upcoming Christmas Fayre will be held on Saturday, 23rd November, which will see the participation of local stall holders, businesses, theatre groups, and martial arts groups. The Centre will also be hosting an inter-generational Christmas event on 27th November, with storytelling and mince pies.
Andrew Carrington, Director of Countryside Properties (Bicester) Limited, says: “The Kingsmere Community and Youth Centre is a fantastic facility which the residents and local community are certainly making use of. It’s remarkable that in its first year of opening, it has already become the heart of Kingsmere. The Centre has not only established itself as a place for residents and the wider Bicester community to come together and enjoy leisure activities and events, but also provides an important social hub for local charities and organisations that are supporting the most vulnerable in the wider Bicester community.”
He adds: “This is a testament to the great work being done by Vicky, Carla, and the rest of the team, who are giving up their time to make the Centre a success and to ensure it is a facility for all.”
Some of the other clubs and groups that currently use the Kingsmere Community and Youth Centre include: Bicester Camera Club, Chesterton Junior Football Club, Rugby Tots, Women’s Institute, Perfect Puppies and Little Kickers, among others.
Since opening its doors, the centre has hosted charities, writing groups, weddings and christenings, school performances, local businesses, musical theatre groups and more. The local police and fire brigade have also visited the on-site pre-school, Little Acorns.