The Hub community cafe opened its doors to the public on September 21st, showcasing part of the recent £1 million refurbishment of Fletton House on Glapthorn Road.
Despite its prime location in the centre of Oundle, this former infirmary which dates back to 1900, had previously been underused for many years.
The refurbishment has transformed the facilities of the community pre-school and the new extension provides room for further facilities including a community café, a dance studio and conference and function rooms.
Alongside the rooms for public use, there are spacious offices for both the Town Council and the local charity, Volunteer Action. Consequently, Fletton House is now realising its full potential as the new heart of the community.
Renovation began in November 2014 with the building work undertaken by Jeakins Weir, a Corby based building firm.
Funding was secured from various sources, a substantial portion was acquired through the selling of the council-owned Drill Hall, as well as a £50,000 grant from East Northamptonshire District Council’s Community Facilities Fund.
Some of the challenges the build encountered included removing asbestos, new water works, electricity and having to dig down four metres for foundations for an extension.
The main feature of Fletton House is The Hub, a vibrant community café, with a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere that has already become a popular coffee stop and lunchtime destination. The Hub is a light-filled space that provides an attractive menu that changes daily, with a variety of cakes and hot and cold drinks.
Other facilities include new conference rooms of various sizes, all named after local villages.
Councillor Ann Fitzgerald, who was an integral member of the Fletton House renovation project and who orchestrated all the interior design aspects of The Hub, said that The Hub has received ‘the best possible response’ from members of the public.
Oundle Mayor Paul King joined the renovation project in its early stages and now spends much of his working day at the new town council offices. ‘We love it!’ he said.
The Hub, which has been stylishly finished to the highest of standards, features furniture which has almost exclusively been upcycled and renovated by volunteers from within the local community.
This was the case with much of the interior renovations throughout the building, therefore producing a facility built for the community, by the community.
Other organisations such as the East Northants North Police officers and the Oundle School of Ballet have begun to make regular use of the facilities available in turn cementing Fletton House’s position at the centre of the Oundle.
By Ruby Goodall