Croft Street (St Swithin’s) Community Centre in Lincoln has reopened after a suspected arson attack left it with £270,000 worth of damage.
The blaze, which was reported to police in the early hours of September 22, 2013, destroyed more than half the community hall and left most other parts of the building with severe smoke damage.
The Croft Street community hall was built in 1954 and was built from funds raised by by St Swithin’s PCC.
After insurers gave the repairs a £270k price tag in January, staff at the centre set about arranging the works.
The pair also managed to raise funds for contents, the new kitchen, ladies toilets and electric by hosting various fundraising events and applying for grants.
After just six months of works, the centre has reopened with a new ceiling, windows, kitchen, electrics, flooring, stage and furniture.
“It’s a very surreal feeling”, said Caroline “We have got a few groups coming back next week and we will be having an official opening party on September 22. Plans are yet to be finalised.
“It feels wonderful to see it now. When they handed the keys back it was most peculiar and I have been quite emotional.
“I only took the job on in November 2012 and I have learned more in this last year than ever before.
“The centre has been hit by burglaries, flood, fires, you name it. I have been here on my own most days and I have learned more about building works than you could imagine.
“I really hope the community get involved and take advantage of the amazing space.”
Users of the centre are being welcomed back and bookings are already being taken for use of the space for the next coming weeks.
The first event in the hall will be on July 2, hosted by Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Anyone wishing to book the space is being urged to contact Caroline Boltz on 07926539318.