A newly refurbished South Tyneside leisure and community facility has welcomed its first customers.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Ken Stephenson, officially opened the new state-of-the-art Jarrow Focus in Cambrian Street, Jarrow.

The opening included the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and ribbon cutting to mark the £3m transformation of the former Jarrow Community Centre building, which features a redesigned gym, sports hall, dance studios, theatre space as well as a new library. A new entrance and external façade has also been created.

The Mayor, who was joined by the Mayoress, Cathy Stephenson, said: “It was a real honour to open this superb new building in the heart of Jarrow Town Centre and it is a very proud and exciting day for all those involved in the project.

“It really does look fabulous. With its first class facilities and services brought together under one roof, Jarrow Focus is a multi-purpose building that will serve to enhance the health and wellbeing of local people. I would encourage residents to take a look at this wonderful new centre for themselves and be among the first to try out the facilities available.”

The revamp of the centre is part of the Council’s long-term vision for community facilities in South Tyneside and is the latest in a series of investments in the Borough’s leisure and library facilities. It follows the creation of Hebburn Central, The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, Haven Point leisure complex and Jarrow Community Pool.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “Jarrow Focus features the latest equipment and technology, making it not only a wonderful modern community hub for the 21st century, but a welcome addition to our wider leisure and community offer.

“It demonstrates our continued commitment to investing in the future of our residents with the official opening of Jarrow Focus marking a key milestone in our delivery of more sustainable services.

“We look forward to seeing the programme of events and activities developing over the coming months, securing its place as an important role within the community and benefiting local people of all ages as well as visitors from across the wider area.”