MALMESBURY’S Riverside Community Centre is celebrating its first birthday this week.

The Riverside Centre is celebrating a successful year since opening for the people of Malmesbury and the surrounding area.

The centre has become a valuable asset to the local community and currently has 45 local groups using the facilities on a regular basis, including adult fitness classes, children’s dance groups, the Women’s Institute, the Mum2Mum breastfeeding support group and many more.

The centre was refurbished as part of Wiltshire Council’s campus and hub programme, and is managed by charity organisation, Friends of Riverside.

John Thomson, cabinet member for community campuses and hubs, said: “Since opening a year ago, the Riverside Community Centre has proved to be a huge success and it is a vibrant hub for the local community.

“We’re delighted to see how well used the centre is, which is a direct reflection of hard work and dedication of the Friends of Riverside volunteers, who give up so much of their time to provide this space and many facilities and services that are helping to combat isolation and loneliness, which affects so many people.

“Their commitment has resulted in many interest clubs being established, creating new opportunities for community engagement and cohesion. The success of the Riverside Centre has demonstrated how community hubs can be both sustainable and vibrant. This is a model that the council is aiming to have across all areas.”

Chair of Friends of Riverside, Kim Power, said: “We are delighted with the runaway success of the centre.

“We are unique in that we have a lot of experience in running a variety of community organisations. This means we understand what it is like to start up a new class or club, and so will do our best to support local initiatives as much as we can. As a result, there is more for local people to enjoy and get involved with – and at a reasonable cost.

“We do have to thank Wiltshire Council, which has had faith in us to make this happen, and of course our Riverside users, as over the past year together we have transformed an empty building into a special place of friendship, fitness, arts, crafts, education, wellbeing and fun.”

As well as hiring the venue, Friends of Riverside also run activities and events, including music performances, a repair café, craft days, and Saturday Friends sessions, where seniors are collected from local care homes so that they can socialise and meet new people.

The Friends are also part of the local Dementia Action Alliance, which enables trustees to give free information sessions to the community; and the centre is the first Dementia Friendly building in the area.