Many older residents will remember the old Cottonmill Club off Cottonmill Lane which was opened in 1971 but closed in 1994. Since then there has just been the uninspiring prefabricated building – the Marlborough Pavilion – used mainly for clubs and the odd meeting, and as a changing room for footballers. It was a sorry looking building, never well liked or maintained neither inside nor outside and consequently was often vandalised.
Now the Marlborough Pavilion has been replaced with a purpose built community centre for the whole of Sopwell. Thanks go to enterprising Sopwell residents who took on the project to persuade the Council by raising an enormous amount of funding. Lots of careful planning has gone into its construction and design to make it appropriate for the whole community. Inside the main building there is a café, a large function room which can be divided into three rooms, a kitchen, two changing rooms, toilet facilities and separate washing facilities for the Muslim community when they use the centre for worship. It even has a state of the art disabled toilet and changing facility complete with hoist! The other part of the centre is a Cycling Centre where cyclists can meet, buy cycling gear and have bikes checked over and repaired.
Outside, as well as the Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and football pitch, is a leisure track which circles round the football pitch and a fantastic pump track – a bumpy track – for the more adventurous to try out. Four fruit trees have been planted in a tiny wildlife meadow at the rear of the building and there are plans for a children’s playground. There are plenty of seating areas outside where one can watch the cyclists as well as admire the beautiful Ver Valley.