Christopher Centre in Sudbury kicks off 25th anniversary celebrations following major refurbishment
Twenty-five years after making the transition from pub to resource hub, the Christopher Centre in Sudbury kicked off its anniversary celebrations with a gathering to mark the completion of a substantial refurbishment project.
Community representatives came together for a celebratory event on Friday afternoon, following a major revitalisation of the centre’s kitchen and toilet areas.
The occasion was the first in a series of events in honour of the Gainsborough Street community hub’s quarter-century milestone, concluding with an autumn fair on October 19, the 25th anniversary of its foundation in 1994.
The centre received a grant of £33,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation to help fund the refurbishment, with the aim of providing better facilities for a wide range of activities.
Robin Hodgkinson, chairman of the Christopher Centre’s board of trustees, told the Free Press the renovation’s completion is timely, as the centre continues to grow as a “thriving community hub”.
“I have been part of the Christopher Centre for 15 years and I’ve seen it through thick and thin,” said Mr Hodgkinson. “I just think it is a wonderful venue.
“It can be difficult. Some years, the centre’s finances are better than others, but we continue on.
“I think the most important thing is that it’s become much more of a community venue. The community activities seem to build and build.
“Our aim is more activities, particularly for the elderly and lonely.
“It’s quite amazing how many elderly people live alone, and things like the Monday coffee morning actually brings them out of their houses.”
He added that the trustees are planning to launch a fundraising appeal later this year, asking individuals and businesses for a small contribution to help keep the Grade II-listed centre going.
The building’s origins date back to the 18th century, and eventually became well known in the town as a pub called The Christopher Inn, until it was sold by Greene King to the Sudbury Common Lands charity, paving the way for its new identity as the Christopher Centre.
Among the organisations that currently use the venue are Sudbury Counselling and Psychotherapy, the Health Intelligence Diabetic Eye Clinic, the Sudbury Society and the Sudbury Community Depot.
It also hosts regular meetings of groups such as the Sudbury Visually Impaired People (VIPs), St Nicholas Hospice, the National Childbirth Trust, a cancer support group and a vegan supper club.
Teresa Bishop, manager of the Christopher Centre, said: “Many Sudbury folk will remember the Christopher Centre building as The Chrissy, a much-loved pub with a bit of a dubious reputation. The Chrissy remains at the very heart of the community.
“The Christopher Centre isn’t just a building, it is a charity that provides so much for Sudbury and our surrounding villages.
“We are so grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation for making the refurbishment possible, not only for ourselves, but for the many other community groups and charities that use the centre.
“Here’s to serving the community for another 25 years.”