A NEW youth and community centre has opened its doors in Aveley.

Aveley Village Community Forum has fulfilled its ambition of ten years and taken over the Old Thurrock Workshop building in the High Street.

It has now been fully refurbished thanks to a grant of £492,000 from the National Lottery, and houses air hockey, pool tables, table tennis, and an internet cafe.

The centre, which is being run by the forum’s youth worker team, opened its doors for the first time on Monday, and plans to open most nights from 6pm to 9pm.

Forum chairman, Alan Field, said: “It’s been a long struggle but now it’s very uplifting to see the first phase of the Youth & Community facilities come into being.

“AVCF have, as a group of unpaid volunteers, achieved a major improvement in the opportunities, support and activities that can now be used by any Aveley resident.

“We hope as many people as possible will use the facilities and that those who do will think about supporting AVCF in this and future ventures.

“I add my personal thanks to everyone who has helped us over the years and especially to those who have been part of the forum from the beginning.”

The project was also funded through a series of other grants.

Veolia ES Cleanaway Mardyke Trust chipped in £35,000, £10,000 was received from the Cloth Workers Guild, £9,700 for Awards For All, and £5,000 from Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation.

There will be Toy Library sessions on Monday mornings and Thurrock’s Play Rangers are also going to book some sessions there along with other community groups, however, there is still room for other groups and organisations to set up and run their own activities.

Call 01708 862001 to contact the centre.