The Downtowner Centre

Rick Oliver (left) and the coffee bar.
The Downtowner, Irvon Hill
St Andrew's Church Collection

When the Downtowner Centre opened in 1990, it was apparently the first purpose built youth centre in Essex for 14 years. The building was constructed in Irvon Hill on the site of the old Wickford Infants School, at a cost of £300,000. A coffee bar functioned from 9 in the morning until 2pm from Monday to Friday. Adult education classes were also held there during the week. The site also included offices, a bar, dance floor, a pool, and an area for darts and table tennis. Although activities targeted at young people would take place it was also intended that anyone could use the Centre from young mums to OAPs. Sunday nights were to be reserved for the 18 to 30 age group and use of the licensed bar. The initial director of the Centre was Rick Oliver.
A Grand Opening of the Centre by the then vice chairman of Essex County Council, Kathleen Nolan, took place on May 18th 1991.
This entry is based on a report in the Evening Echo and the photo of the coffee bar is from their archive.
Do you remember any activities or events at the Downtowner over the years?

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  • The Downtowner was also home for a number of years to the Wickford Childrens Centre where many families were able to access services for themselves and their children.

    By Kasey Brazier (12/01/2023)

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