South Norwood groups close in on dreams for Socco Cheta

How the Socco Cheta plans have been developed for the use of the building

South Norwood is getting ever closer to having a purpose-built community centre.

Community groups came together in 2018 and bid successfully to the council to get use of the Socco Cheta building on Portland Road, and they now have plans to put out to tender to builders. They hope to be open and operational by September.

Over the weekend, they revealed their plans.

“We have been working really hard to get the plans together for the building and are finally proud to show you what we have come up with,” they said.

The not very prepossessing front of the building as it is now

Their plan “was very much developed in line with what you told us and we will continue to evolve this as we see how the space needs to be used”.

They said, “We are also going to need to add some of that South Norwood quirk to the space so looking forward to that stage when we can all add our own stamp to it!”

The unusual configuration of the building has been divided up as follows:

Corridor entrance – Community exhibition space and local history museum.

Orange room – Community kitchen and pay-what-you-can cafe. Also room for some other lovely projects and activities to take place.

Red room – Great space for exercise classes, basketball, dance, domino matches, youth projects, table-top sales etc.

Blue room – Auditorium and home to Screen25 film screenings. The seats are retractable so it can be used for a number of other things too.

Garden – Food growing, natural play area, pergola for entertainment such as outdoor screenings. Chill out area and a general good space for community events.

“There are a couple of other rooms that can be used for office space or for small group activities, workshops and meetings,” they said.

The project has been at least three years in the making, and has received financial support from the council and the Mayor of London.

“Contractors will be asked to tender for the works towards the end of this month which should hopefully mean the works will start early April, looking towards a September launch! It’s happening!”

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