Charity helps refurbish community centre in Bedford

The newly-opened Harrold Community Centre.
The newly-opened Harrold Community Centre.

The Harrold Centre, also known as The Institute, is open after a £400,000 refurbishment.

Locals can make use of a larger hall, seating up to 130 people, bar facilities, improved billiards room, and a special medical consulting room.

A local charity, The Connolly Foundation, helped raise funds to make the work possible.

Alison Foster, borough councillor for Harrold, Carlton and Odell, opened the revamped Centre and said: “This is an iconic building at the heart of the village.

“The people who have worked so hard to preserve it represent all that is good about Harrold and its community.

“Confidence was boosted enormously by the donation from the Connolly Trust so The Institute Trustees have decided that the main hall will be named The Connolly Hall in gratitude.”

John Tusting, a trustee whose great grandfather donated the land and built the centre, said: “It forms a significant part of the village’s heritage, built in 1901 out of the prosperity created by five local leather factories employing about 400 people.

“The renewal and rejuvenation of the centre we hope marks a new beginning; building on the past but looking forward to new life for Harrold, a cohesive and welcoming community.”