THE PARISH CENTRE

By 1954 it was decided to start the necessary groundwork in raising funds for St. Joseph’s own Parish Centre. At a garden party in the grounds of Holt Hill Convent organised by the Men’s Club, they realised the first £400 which was invested in a special account for the purpose of building a parish hall. (These garden parties continued until 1958.) In 1958 the Bishop gave permission for the purchase of the land specifically for the building of the Parish Centre. But between the idea and the physical reality there was much hard work and it took many years for the dream to reach fruition, finally in 1970.
 
In 1964 land and a house in Greenbank Road next to the parish bowling green* (formed in 1940, now the car park at the North Road end) was purchased, and an application for planning permission was made. The clearance of the site commenced in 1965 with the demolition of the said house. In 1966 a further two houses (9 and 11) adjoining were acquired and demolished. The following year an appeal went out for parishioners to help clear the site, but despite all this effort, building could still not take place because of a shortfall in funds.
 
When the Guild Hall was demolished in 1968 to make way for a new school hall, the parish social activities for the next few years were moved to 32 North Road, opposite the church.
 
By June 1969 six plans of the proposed new Parish Centre were presented to the congregation for their approval and an extra appeal was made for the large sum of money necessary.
 
Parish Centre - £36,716
Youth Centre - £28,000
 
By October the contract for the building of the Parish Centre and adjoining Youth Centre was signed by the Bishop. A local brewery firm having agreed to construct free of charge, the bar with all its fittings and fixtures at a cost of £3000.
 
The opening of the new centre took place on 6th June 1970 with the blessing of the centre in the afternoon by the Vicar General Mgr. Percival Rees followed in the evening with a gala concert given by the 1970 Eurovision Song Concert Winner ‘Dana’.
 
The Silver Jubilee of the Parish Centre was marked in 1995 with two social evenings when Cathy Murphy, Ethel Pierce, Jimmy Boyle, John Massey, Jack Hughes and Tony Giles-Burness were made honorary members in recognition of all their work.
 
Over the years societies have formed and folded, but today St. Joseph’s Parish still maintains a fully varied representation of the needs and enthusiasms of its parishioners.
 
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