Dons manager Downes launches replacement community centre

AFC Wimbledon manager Wally Downes looked on the bright side by helping Merton’s mayor open a new home for groups of people with learning difficulties.

Club director Ivor Heller was also a guest at the event, where Cllr Mary Curtin officially launched the Leyton Road Community Resource Centre alongside council leader Cllr Stephen Alambritis.

Leyton Road in Colliers Wood is the new home of the High Path Centre, which has moved as part of the planned new Harris Academy development. The new centre will provide day services for adults with learning disabilities. The centre, which was designed in consultation with service users and their families, now has a state-of-the-art music therapy room, art room, relaxation area, garden and fully fitted kitchen.

The core users of the service are people with a learning disability, who were joined by friends and colleagues from Merton’s other day services as well as their parents and carers.

The centre is a community hub, hosting voluntary groups who were all represented at the opening ceremony including the Uptown Youth Group, WIFFA (West Indian Families and Friends Association) and PHAB Club.

Haydon the Womble, the Dons’ mascot, was also there to reflect the ties between the Dons, the staff and clients of the day service. The club have supported the clients throughout the years with day trips to matches, joint ventures and fundraising.

Cllr Alambritis said: “I would like to welcome everyone to the Leyton Road Community Resource Centre. This service is an example of the council’s commitment to providing vital services to the most vulnerable in our community. I would also like to thank all the families, council staff and volunteers who have worked together to ensure that this state-of-the-art facility is available to serve the whole community.”

Dons are currently bottom of the League One table, having not registered a win since Boxing Day but will be hoping they can change their fortunes for the visit of Burton on Saturday.

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