THE dedication and hard work of a team of local volunteers has been praised by a Wirral MP as he officially opened the borough’s newest community centre.

Birkenhead MP Frank Field was the guest of honour at the opening of St Catherine’s Community Centre - situated in the grounds of St Catherine’s Health Centre on Church Road, Tranmere – and showcased some of the activities and support being offered to local residents.

Mr Field also presented a special award to the family of Hazel Roberts, a founder member of the Neighbourhood Resource Centre volunteer group - based at the community centre – who passed away earlier this year.

The award was in recognition of her outstanding contribution to improving the Birkenhead and Tranmere area.

“This is a truly stunning building, already building up a stunning programme of activities, run by the community for the community with local volunteers at the very heart,” said Mr Field.

Despite persistent rain slightly dampening spirits, more than 100 local people visited the centre during the open day and were able to see the broad range of activities and services already being offered from the Old Port House building.

These include Reiki massage, Zumba, healthy cookery, Tai Chi, Bag-a-Bargain fruit and vegetables, and welfare benefits advice.

Council leader Phil Davies was even on hand to join Mr Field in testing out a pedal-powered Smoothie maker.

Partner organisations, including Wirral Community NHS Trust, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, Wirral Council, Riverside Housing and Citizen’s Advice Bureau were also on hand to support the event.

One of the highlights of the day was the first public showing of a promotional film about the centre. This can be viewed on the centre’s Facebook page, which is also proving a popular way for local people to find out about all the new activities that are being offered at St Catherine’s Community Centre.

John Ford, chief executive of Lairdside Communities Together - who manage the centre - said: “Thanks to the support of residents, volunteers and partner organisations, St Catherine’s Community Centre is already developing in to a service to be very proud of and the aim is to further build these relationships so we can continue to grow, build and develop the Birkenhead and Tranmere communities at grass roots level.”