Phased opening for £20m Old Trafford ‘Limelight’ centre

Trafford Housing Trust (THT) has begun the phased opening of its £20m Limelight development at Shrewsbury Street in Old Trafford.

Limelight initially opened to the public on October 2 to allow residents to help ‘road test’ the building, give feedback and help shape the way the facilities and services are delivered.

Following this ‘soft opening’ period, the scheme will officially open on December 7 with a community event from 2pm-8pm attended by dignitaries, community groups, partners and VIPs.

Renowned author, broadcaster and poet Lemn Sissay will be in attendance alongside Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and CEO of the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation, Diane Modahl.

Built on the site of the old Shrewsbury Street Community Centre, housing bosses say Limelight is set to be a community-based facility offering a range of primary healthcare facilities together with a library, café, multi-purpose event space, hair and beauty salon and opticians.

In addition, Limelight will offer a nursery and services aimed at families and young people, making it an intergenerational space available to everyone of all ages.

Of these amenities, Old Trafford Library will reopen at Limelight on October 2. Also opening that week will be the Amaryllis Day Nursery, the new opticians’ practice eyePAD Opticians, Limelight Café and Limelight Hair & Beauty Hub. Two GP practices and a pharmacy will also open later in October.

From October 2, residents will also be able to start hiring a range of spaces at Limelight which can be used for events, such as weddings, christenings, corporate functions, conferences and exhibitions.

An interactive 4D immersive space is also on offer which can create unique experiences using colourful graphics and images projected on walls and floors.

Limelight also features 81 one and two-bed extra care apartments which are now available for sale and rent, with 21 of these units being made available under the Older People’s Shared Ownership (OPSO) scheme. A new Extra Care show flat was launched last month, highlighting the quality of the accommodation together with the extensive safety, health and well-being features which are built into the flats to support older and more vulnerable residents.

David Teasdale, Limelight centre manager, said: “Trafford Housing Trust and the whole Limelight team have been working very hard to ensure when we officially open in December that everything works and runs smoothly.

“To help us with that we are going to have a soft launch period where local residents, community groups and partners can access the hub and explore the space, try things out and tell us what they think. We’ll also be welcoming the library, nursery, opticians, café and hair and beauty hub into Limelight who will be up and running in early October.

“It’s a very exciting time for us, and the fact we’ve got Lemn Sissay and Diane Modahl lined up for the official launch on December 7 is fantastic.”

Before it has even opened Limelight has already been hailed for making a positive impact on the local community.

Earlier this year it scooped a national Considerate Constructors Scheme award and scoring 100 per cent in the ‘Respect for the Community’ category.

Social value impacts have also been impressive during the build, with 80 local residents finding employment or an apprenticeship and a further 132 having started training places.

Limelight’s developer, Willmott Partnership Homes, has also hosted workshops attended by around 800 students from local schools and colleges, and nearly £320,000-worth of goods and services have been procured from local businesses.