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Posted - 22nd April 21

The newly refurbished beating heart of the Aldershot Garrison community reopens

A plaque was unveiled to mark the official opening and rebranding of the Aldershot Garrison Community Hub late last week.

The small celebration allowed the new name to be revealed- previously known as the Connaught Centre – marking a new start for its place in the community.

The Aldershot Garrison Commander, Lt Col Paddy Baines MBE presided over the ceremony where the renovated space now includes an outdoor play park, Café with soft play area, welfare offices and meeting rooms.

Major General David Eastman MBE, General Officer Commanding, Regional Command unveiled the plaque that will provide Aldershot Garrison neighbourhood with an appealing and inviting facility.  The Hub is set to become a focal point for community cohesion between the military and civilian population, as well as providing welfare support to soldiers and their families.

Lt Col Paddy Baines MBE said:

“The newly refurbished Aldershot Garrison Community Hub provides a ‘one stop shop’ to meet the welfare needs of the military community in Aldershot.  But it’s more than just a building, it’s the heart of our community, and houses a bunch of great people whose collective aim is to provide the best possible support to our soldiers and their families. It also provides a venue for connecting the military and civilian communities, through shared activities and use of the great facilities, which includes the Sandes Café, a brand new indoor play area and the fantastic Wellington Playpark.  So as lockdown eases, please come and visit us and become an active part of the Aldershot Garrison Community.”

The Community Hub has everything under one roof for military families including many areas of welfare support including unit Welfare Officers, HIVE, Amey , Executive Pre-School Manager, SSAFA, RBL, AWS, SASRA, Ripple Pond and the Garrison Community Support Officer.

Not only will the Community Hub offer support and advice, but there is also a Sandes coffee shop, which has also undergone refurbishment.  The new cafe has welcoming space both inside, once Covid restrictions are lifted, and an outside in the courtyard and outdoor seating space. The area has been complimented by a new kitchen, from where the usual teas and coffee, cakes, lunch time snacks and even hot food will be available.  And with the addition of a new three-story soft play area families can enjoy time together, meeting friends and family in this new relaxing and welcoming space – which is sure to prove a hit for all.

Outside the Community Hub a new play park (Wellington Playpark) has been installed which is additional great facility.  It is now open having been tried, tested and enjoyed by families from across the local area and so far proving to be an immensely popular.

Allan Thomson, CEO of Aspire Defence said

“We were delighted to be able to support Aldershot Garrison with some additional funding needed to make this project really come to life for the community. It was great to mark this exciting milestone with other representatives, including DIO, Army Central Fund, BFBS Radio, 11X and Regional Command who have brought this phase of the development to life.

It will deliver real and lasting value to the service personal and their families who use it, and there’s more on the horizon in terms of additional activities being planned for this local community to look forward to, that will undoubtably enhance the lived experience of service life.”

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