GIBBONSDOWN Children's Centre has praised the efforts of volunteers who helped renovate Parkside Christian Centre. The Children's Centre has temporarily relocated to Parkside so that a major refurbishment can be completed on its own site.

But before they could move, Parkside had to be renovated itself - as it was in an 'absolutely dire' state, according to the church leader.

Helen Cocks, Leader at Parkside, said they had been talking about renovating the premises for several years.

"The roof leaked, the floor was up, the central heating didn't work, we had a hole in the ceiling, we had no hot water, the kitchen was totally inadequate and it was unwelcoming and incredible shabby," she said.

Gill Munro, Children's Centre manager, thanked the church for allowing them to relocate for the next few months.

"We are just grateful to find a home," she said.

"I can't believe the difference and it's lovely now. I'm humbled by the amount of work the volunteers have done, it's amazing."

Funding from the Barry Regeneration Board, Flying Start and other sources has allowed the £400,000 renovation of Gibbonsdown Children's Centre to take place, with work set to start 'imminently' and be finished by the end of March.

Meanwhile a contingency fund, as well as funding from the Luchana Trust which owns Parkside Christian Centre, allowed £20,000 worth of work to be completed for the church.

Helen, who is also Chair of the Partnership for Community First for Gibbonsdown and Court wards, added: "We must have done 1000 hours in the last few weeks. Volunteers have all pulled together and we couldn't have done it without them."

Gibbonsdown Children's Centre will be based at Parkside from Monday to Friday with its full daycare and after-school club.

The Little Stars toddler group, which is based at Parkside, will merge with the Children's Centre group on a Wednesday morning, with Parkside continuing its services on the weekends.

"When we go back, we hope to continue working together in some form," said Gill, who added she can't wait for renovation work to start on the children's centre.

"It's been such a long time coming," she said.

"We put the bid in 18 months ago. It's been a long haul getting to this stage."