Moonshot Centre was constructed in 1981 in the wake of the New Cross fire that devastated so many lives in New Cross and beyond. Local people successfully lobbied for a building that would provide a base for the African and Caribbean communities of New Cross. It is for this reason that that Moonshot Centre has special significance.
The building is owned by the London Borough of Lewisham and was formerly known as the Pagnell Street Youth and Community Centre. It was built specifically for the African and Caribbean communities in New Cross from funding made available by the Urban Program. The local community also contributed some of the match funding.
Unfortunately, Moonshot Centre was forced to close its doors in 1999 but a consortium of four (4) partners (IRIE! dance theatre, Surestart Grinley Gibbons (Playhouse Nursery), Deptford Green School and the London Borough of Lewisham) was created who fundraised and oversaw the refurbishment of the building.
In the process, a new vision which also embraced the original aspirations for the community centre, was developed for Moonshot Centre.
A primary aim of the consortium was to program activities within Moonshot Centre that benefit children and young people while also actively working to develop joint initiatives that draw on the skills and aspirations of all age groups.
The hard work paid off and the building was re-opened in 2007.
As part of the renovations of the building, a striking glass atrium was designed and is a major addition to the original building. It has a stairway leading up to a café area and either side of the stairway are seats in the style of an amphitheatre, which has the capacity for an audience of about 100.
Moonshot Centre also accommodates two Dance Studios. The smaller studio has raked seating while the much larger studio doesn’t. IRIE! dance theatre runs a Dance Foundation Degree program in partnership with City & Islington College and the London Metropolitan University and so the dance studios are used by IRIE! for this purpose as well as for other dance and fitness-related classes for the community as well as for professional dancers.
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Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham along with Mrs Sybil Phoenix, MBE, a community leader and local heroine, presided over the official opening of the renovated Moonshot Centre in June 2007.
Community involvement has always been at the heart of the Moonshot Centre’s history. And today, with so many members of the local community and people from further afield coming into contact with the building through childcare, education, dance, music and much more it’s great to see Moonshot Centre again establishing its place at the centre of the community.