CORNWALL Neighbourhoods for Change's (CN4C) office in Redruth was officially opened by former national news reader Martyn Lewis.
It was a proud day for the organisation set up a decade ago to transform the lives of people in some of the county's most disadvantaged communities.
CN4C bought and adapted the historic Elms building in Green Lane, transforming it into a resource centre for the whole community.
As well as housing CN4C staff, it provides services for individuals and community groups, provides information, advice, guidance and education and employment opportunities.
Mr Lewis, who worked for ITV for 16 years and the BBC for 13 years, was impressed by what he saw.
He said it was an example of democracy in action, with people working to improve their own lives.
He added: "I hope it inspires a great many other people to look at this model and roll it out across the country."
Mr Lewis also launched a book of tributes dedicated to the memory of Blair Thomson, a key figure in CN4C, who died earlier this year.
Beth Semmons, chairman and co-founder of CN4C, described how 21 years ago she had returned to Cornwall and had been shocked by the "deprivation and poverty" and "the deprivation of spirit" she found.
She said tenants had a primary role in setting up the organisation. The dream had been to set up something of quality and sustainability.
Over the past ten years, CN4C's work had seen 2,000 people employed and a further 2,500 achieve qualifications.
She added: "We are very proud of the Elms."
The restoration of The Elms – formerly the Ministry of Labour – was led by CN4C and cost £1.6 million with more than £1 million coming from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence. Contributions were also received from The Clothworkers' Foundation, The Arts Council and The Social Investment Business.
A mortgage was also taken by CN4C from Unity Trust Bank. Other key partners include Cornwall Council and Coastline Housing Ltd.
Facilities include office space, a hub for knowledge exchange, IT suites and a social enterprise and self-employment facility.
Since it opened in January, it has become increasingly popular. As the rooms have become populated so has the wall and floor space with locally created artwork including an entrance hall mosaic and a metalwork sculpture depicting Redruth.
Tarn Lamb, CN4C chief executive, said: "For me the really exciting thing is to see people coming into the building and starting to use it.
"One of CN4C's key messages has always been if you put quality, community-facing buildings into the most disadvantaged areas, right on the social housing estates, you can spark change."