West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper visited Skelmersdale’s Ecumenical Centre recently to meet with staff, tenant organisations and local councillors to discuss plans for increased community engagement and offering.

On her visit, MP Rosie was shown a number of improvement works that have been carried out at the centre under recent refurbishment works.

The Ecumenical Centre has played a central role in the town of Skelmersdale for decades. Two years ago the centre was successful in gaining funding from the Big Lottery to support its ambitious plans in making the building more accessible and developing its spaces to be more suitable for the community it services.

Work involved installing a lift to connect all floors, building a welcoming atrium and reception area as well as creating the community room. In February 2020 the work was finally complete and in celebration the centre’s new Interim Manager and Board of Trustees, invited Rosie Cooper MP, local councillors, stakeholders, friends and tenant organisations to join them for a coffee morning at the centre.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“The Ecumenical Centre has been at the heart of Skelmersdale for a generation, and I regularly attend to meet with organisations, open new facilities and have often held my surgery appointments here – it is a real community asset.

“I was delighted to be invited along by Sinead to view the new look and hear about the centre’s continued commitment to serve the community and housing vital services such as the foodbank and advice agencies for residents struggling with welfare payments, debt and homelessness.

“I hope the local community continue to support and avail of the great services and facilities offered at the Ecumenical Centre.”

Centre Manager Sinead Martin added:
“The aim of the day was to welcome friends back into the building and to showcase the work that has been done. The centre has effectively been closed for more than six months and this was the first opportunity to tell the community that we are back open!

“While we are absolutely delighted about the work that we have managed to get done through lottery support – there is still a lot of work to be done. In particular, the building needs some additional TLC – the building is wrapped in over 200 windows that over the years have been vandalised and replaced with perspex. These have become unsightly and are in desperate need of replacement.

“Our aim is to connect with local organisations, glazing companies, building companies that are active in the town with a call to action for help to transform the outside of this building. Given the scale of the task ahead we are reaching out to all the friends we can to help with this!

“Our vision for the centre going forward is for it be a central hub where the people of the community can connect with the many charities that operate within our building and for them to receive a warm, friendly welcome. The centre is at the heart of the community – servicing its people and developing exciting projects and services that meet local needs.”

Organisations based at the Ecumenical Centre include West Lancashire ARK (advice charity), Lancashire Community Finance, The Birchwood and U3A as well as United Christian Congregation representing and supported by the Church of England, The Methodist Church, The United Reformed Church and the Baptist Church.

Rosie Cooper MP with West Lancashire Mayor Cllr Gaynar Owen, Centre Manager Sinead Martin (2nd left), tenant organisations and local councillors at the centre coffee morning
Rosie Cooper MP with West Lancashire Mayor Cllr Gaynar Owen, Centre Manager Sinead Martin (2nd left), tenant organisations and local councillors at the centre coffee morning
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