HEA and Keepmoat brighten up St Matthew’s Centre

St Matthew’s Community Centre in Holbeck has had a bit of a makeover, with housing contractors Keepmoat providing labour and materials to smarten up the entrance lobby.

The project was officially concluded and celebrated with Keepmoat staff joined Holbeck Elderly Aid (HEA) members and volunteers, and local councillors, for breakfast.

The Centre is one the main bases for HEA, which provides a range of services and activities to older members of the Holbeck community. The building was converted from a church many years ago and the décor was looking tired to say the least.

“We wanted to make it feel more welcoming to our members,” explained Elissa Newman, HEA’s CEO. “We want our members to feel valued and give them the best we can.”

HEA had been in discussion with Keepmoat, the main contractor on the new council housing in Holbeck, for two years. The building presented difficulties, and a full refurbishment was impossible in the current financial climate. The kitchen is due to be refitted in the future, but requires specialist catering equipment. It was decided at this stage to work on the entrance lobby.

A team of apprentices* – including some of the 52 apprentices who have worked on the housing regeneration scheme in Holbeck and Beeston Hill over the last three years – took on the job, gaining further skills, experience and qualifications.

Stuart Downes from Keepmoat said:

“We were keen to give something back to the community, but with all the housing in Holbeck completed, we were running out of time. Our thought was that if we get the entrance right, the rest of the building can follow on.”

As well as the painting, new planters have been donated by Urban Planters, and new flooring and blinds are on their way. The entrance has been completed with framed photos of old Holbeck by HEA volunteer Steve Hall.

“It’s important for our members to keep the connection with old Holbeck at a time of great change in the area,” said Elissa Newman.

* Pictured working on the redecoration, left to right:  Jonathan Bingham, Chris Baxter, Paul Stockdale, Sam Mooney, Christine Mills, Elissa Newman (HEA), Jed Beanland (on the ladder), Juliet Bennett, Danny Cunnane & Ryan Cavanagh.