pccloft‘A beacon of excellence in partnership working’ was how Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes described the work of the housing association, Moat, and charity Word on the Street.

The two organisations joined forces to create a community centre called The Activity Loft, an ordinary three-bedroom house on the once-troubled Vineries Estate in Gillingham that is now the heart of a peaceful community.

Young people from the estate use the house to do their homework, use the computers and to ‘hang out’. The centre is also used for coffee mornings as well as a parent and toddler group. Other services provided by Word on the Street include mentoring sessions and home visits.

The Activity Loft was the brainchild of Moat, following consultation with local young people who wanted a safe, secure place to socialise and make new friends.

But the service has become such a popular space, more room was needed. A team of companies came to the rescue, building a conservatory and refurbishing the house from top to bottom – free of charge.

Mrs Barnes officially opened The Activity Loft, which was funded by Maulyte, The Window Company, Armour, Allied Protection, Wiggintons, Playle and Partners, Cleanscapes and Keepmoat.

She was particularly keen to hear how the centre had cut so-called low level crime and anti-social behaviour. Mrs Barnes said: ‘This centre is a real beacon of excellence of partnership working. What you all have created here is special. I want to do all I can to help young people avoid getting into a life of crime. Places like this support that work so thank you.’

Moat’s Regional Business Manager, Pam Millington, said: ‘We are incredibly grateful for all of the generous contributions towards the provision of the Activity Loft conservatory. The Loft is already a well-used and valued community facility so this additional space will allow The Word on the Street team to organise more activities for local people to enjoy.’