A brand new waterside development near Milton Keynes is taking shape after the official opening of a community hub for the new residents.
A special ceremony was held to mark the opening of the community centre at our sought-after Willow Lake development in Newton Leys on Saturday March 1st.
The development’s new residents were able to enjoy a Women’s Institute cake stall, a Zumba demonstration and children’s activities including face painting and giant Jenga.
The event was attended by councillors Angela Kennedy – who performed the community centre ribbon cutting – Michael Rand and Keith Allen, as well as Taylor Wimpey Sales Manager Louise Ballmann and Sales Executive Dee Webb.
The building is available for community groups to use, and for private bookings for occasions such as children’s birthday parties.
Colin Radford, Associate Technical Director for Taylor Wimpey, says: “The opening of the community centre is great news for residents at Willow Lake, who now have a bespoke venue suitable for a wide range of uses – and which is the perfect place to get to know their new neighbours.”
Community centre co-ordinator Michelle Williams, from Bletchley & Fenny Stratford Town Council, which is responsible for managing the facility, adds: “Ahead of the launch several groups expressed an interest in using the centre, including a toddler group, a weight-loss class, a church group, a fitness group and a branch of the Women’s Institute. It’s clear there’s huge demand for this venue and it is going to be a real hub for the residents.”
The centre has a capacity for 100 people and includes a main hall, a meeting room, a kitchen and toilets. It is a temporary structure, with a permanent facility set to open at Willow Lake further down the line.
The centre is just one of the many community and leisure facilities planned for the development, which has the tranquil Jubilee Lake at its heart and is surrounded by swathes of public open space.
A brand new primary school at Willow Lake is due to open in September 2016, with Taylor Wimpey on course to gift the land for the school to Milton Keynes Council later this year.
New youth sessions funded by Willow Lake fishing venture
We’re delighted to have played a vital role in launching a new youth and arts group for children and young people in Newton Leys.
Sales Executive Andy Graves with representativesfrom the Newton
Leys Community Centre celebrating Taylor Wimpey’s donation.
The sale of fishing permits at Willow Lake, organised by our Sales Executive Andy Graves, has raised £1,000 – and we’ve subsequently matched this sum to provide a substantial donation of £1,000 towards the youth project.
Beth Benton, Newton Leys Community Engagement Co-ordinator for Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council and also a resident in Newton Leys, has been involved in setting up the new group, which held its first session in April at Newton Leys Community Centre.
She says: “There’s a real need for youth provision in Newton Leys so it’s fantastic to be at a point now where we can host these sessions.
“We secured some funding under the S106 planning agreement and Andy came forward and offered to support the group with the fishing permit money which will enable the group to run for longer and help purchase some equipment – it means we’ll be able to get the best out of the sessions.
“We’re so grateful for Andy and Taylor Wimpey’s support and amazing generosity.”
Newton Leys New Youth Arts and Youth Club is for seven to 15-year-olds and runs in term time on Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm. Admission is just 50p and includes a varied programme of activities.
The sessions are being run by Debbie Scott, director of Youth Network MK, with fully qualified and DBS-checked youth workers.
Beth adds: “We’ve developed the programme following extensive consultation with young people. It’s quite arts based, and we’ve had lots of interest in performance and music. They can also make animations, play table tennis and other games, or do crafts.
“Our aim is to make it fun for the young people and provide a safe place for them to get together rather than just playing outside.”
Andy – himself a keen fisherman – started selling day tickets last year for fishing at Willow Lake and since then a community of anglers has gradually become established.
The lake at the centre of the development has been stocked with fish since the 1950s but hadn’t been regularly fished for many years until Andy started the permit scheme. Its waters – believed to be as deep as 75ft – are home to carp of every size up to 42lbs so far, as well as tench, bream, perch, rudd and roach.