Crowds packed the new Phoenix Centre in Heywood on Saturday the 14th of November, as hundreds turned out to take a look around the towns brand new joint service centre.
Visitors to the open day at the centre which boasts a wide range of health, council and community services were joined by Coronation Street favourite Katherine Kelly, best known for playing Becky in the ITV1 soap.
The weekend's event followed the official opening on Thursday by Baroness Kay Andrews OBE, Chair of English Heritage, who was delighted to return to Heywood after cutting the first sod for the centre last year.
The day gave many the first chance to see the new facilities and many took advantage of regular guided tours that were held throughout the day at the centre on Church Street.
The Mayor, Councillor Keith Swift welcomed visitors and introduced a series of short presentations during the afternoon, from Susan Coates, Chair of New Heart for Heywood and Councillor Alan McCarthy, Chair of Heywood Township. Katherine Kelly also said a few words to the audience before spending nearly two hours posing for photographs and signing autographs for hundreds of eager fans of all ages.
The Mayor, Councillor Keith Swift said he was pleased to see so many local people:
"I'm delighted with the hard work and co-operation that's gone into making this joint service centre a reality, bringing both council and NHS services together in one place. It's something the town can be really proud of, and I'm very pleased to see the first joint service centre in the borough is here in Heywood."
John Pierce, Chair of NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale said:
"With the support of the local community, our vision for Heywood has now become a reality, providing modern, 21st century facilities and services for the people of Heywood."
Susan Coates, Chair of New Heart for Heywood said the centre will provide more essential services where they are needed, right in the centre of town:
"As everyone can see today, the facilities are superb, and this is an excellent example of what can be achieved by working in partnership."
Councillor Alan McCarthy, Chair of Heywood Township added:
"The council, the NHS and New Heart for Heywood have a strong commitment to delivering real improvements in health services and well-being for the people of Heywood ... this is a first class facility."
Later in the afternoon, Katherine enjoyed a very competitive game of table football with local youngsters, and the games that were played throughout the day proved a popular attraction!
Exhibitors were offering help and advice on a range of council and health services including healthy eating and exercise. Health trainers provided free health checks and support.
Miss Kelly, who was due to fly out to India the following day to promote the Action Aid Children and Communities Charity also tried out one of the centre's new computers which offer free internet access, and a gateway to lots of council services online.
Next door, the Civic Centre hosted a popular health fair with a wide range of exhibitors offering support, useful tips and advice on leading a healthier life. Katherine Kelly popped in during the afternoon and was dazzled by an impressive performance on stage by Lisa Jayne's Dance Academy.
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