Doors open after children’s centre upgrade scheme

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A library and children’s centre have officially opened after a £989,000 upgrade of the facilities.

Rutland County Council opened the Visions Children’s Centre, in Oakham this week.

The facility, in a new build, is attached to the side of Oakham Library which re-opened lastmonth after a refurbishment.

The work took about five months to complete and Councillor Tony Mathias (Con), leader of the council, cut the ribbon to open the children’s centre.

He said: “This has been a long-term project which has demanded an awful lot from those involved.

“This has given Rutland a fantastic facility that staff and users can be very proud of.

“This improvement to the library is also long overdue and hopefully this will be used for the next 25-years.”

The authority initially approved £220,000 in June 2016 for the library and a further £400,000 for the relocation of the children’s centre from Catmose College.

It approved a further £60,000 in funding for the library in September 2016.

A vote to provide another £309,000 in April sparked anger in some residents who wanted to know where the money had come from in a time of austerity.

A letter signed by five county councillors also called on the project to be put on hold earlier this year until the authority looked again at the extra funding.

Councillor Richard Foster (Con), the portfolio holder for children and young people, said: “It’s a wonderful facility.

“We can now offer people a high standard of children’s services.

“I think that this is something that Oakham has needed.”

Children’s book author and illustrator Ellie Sandall, of Deeping St James,read from her books and looked to encourage children to write their own stories.

The Visions Children’s Centre has a play area for youngsters, computers and a kitchen for people to 
use.

Janet Taylor, a library volunteer, said: “I think the new facility is brilliant.”

The library opens between 9.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 4pm Saturday. The Visions centre is open 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm Fridays.