History and Future

In July 1986 the first turf was dug by Cllr Mrs. Pat Rule for the Community Centre in Burns Road. Records note the building costs to have been £231,033, with planning approval for three main phases of construction.  The first phase consisted of a Sports Hall, two meetings rooms, office, kitchen, toilets and Club Room.

The CCC of Coombes Community Centre in bricks on the stairwell

The building was completed on 9th September 1987, exactly 11 years after the Royston Community Association (RCA) was set up. North Hertfordshire District Council, who own the building, formally handed over the keys to the RCA at the Annual General Meeting on 30th September and an official opening ceremony took place on 5th December 1987.

In September 1991 work began on the second phase of the building; this is a purpose-built annexe for Under 5s activities. It was completed in January 1992; Rainbow Playgroup moved in straight away and happily served the community until mid 2020 and then, after refurbishment, a new group – Wonderland Day Nursery took over the facility in April 2021.

Digging the first turf of the Under 5s Room on 16th September 1991 – Cllr Tim Doyle watched by the Rainbow Playgroup

Over the years, many improvements have been made to the inside and outside of the Centre, thanks to funding from organisations such as North Hertfordshire District Council, The Brian Racher Charitable Trust and Anglia in Bloom, as well as the RCA’s own reserves.

Recent projects have included the conversion of the Club Room into a meeting/conference area, a platform lift to the first floor, and additional car parking spaces. All the original windows were replaced with modern safety windows in late 2019, and the hall floor was renewed the following year.

Coombes Community Centre 25th Anniversary RCA Chairman Bill Davidson cutting the cake with then Town Mayor Cllr Lindsay Davidson
(now RCA Secretary)

The RCA has not forgotten the original plan for phase three of the Centre which is for a second sports hall. The land is still available and there is huge demand from the community for halls of this kind. With Royston continuing to grow and Coombes being the only community centre in town, efforts are ongoing to complete the building begun over 30 years ago.

Coombes Community Centre 30th Anniversary
Left to right: Sylvia Beamon, founder of the Royston Retreat Community Association, precursor to the RCA; Deirdre Rogers, founder of Rainbow Playgroup; Jennie Harris, RCA Chairman when Coombes was built; Sylvia Daintrey, RCA President: Fred Bendall, RCA Treasurer for 25 years

Report from The Royston Crow when Bill Davidson took on the role as Chairman of the RCA in October 2006 He served as Chairman for a record 14 years before leaving Royston in January 2021. The RCA Chairman is now Robert Smith.