The South End Community Center, 19 Bates St., celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009.

On Aug. 5, 1969, 14 South End residents came together to officially form an organization through which they could support the under-served youth of the South End, and advocate for South End residents.

They developed and implemented youth programs, soliciting the town for use of space at both the former Birdseye Elementary School and Johnson Junior High School buildings. The group also worked with the town’s Community Development Department and the Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Agency to develop the South End into a more residential community.

On Feb. 11, 1975, the town purchased a small manufacturing building at 19 Bates St. The building was renovated and named the South End Community Center.

Four years later, on Feb. 28, 1979, the town signed a lease agreement with South End Community Council to use the center to provide programs and services to the community pursuant to its mission.

In 2006, the town took the lead of the day-to-day operation of programs and services.

The center now hosts child care, education, camps and cultural activities.

The South End Community Council works with center staff, offering hands-on support for programs and services, soliciting funding, and participating on community-wide panels and committees, as well as lobbying for initiatives that address a variety of community issues.