A Welcoming Corner of Gloucestershire
We took a trip to Sedbury to talk to Janice and Richard, community organisers who have helped lead the project in recreating Sedbury Space as a welcoming, inclusive community space.
Watch the video and read the full transcript below:
Janice: At the time this was a youth club, it was quite a sad building, and it was just used two evenings a week and the rest of the time it stood empty. Sedbury is particularly cut off from the rest of Gloucestershire; it’s the furthest corner you can get before you fall into Wales. People feel very cut off here, marginalised here, and we thought if we had a place in the middle of the village, if we had a venue that people could come to and use the space, that might be really helpful.
Richard: She had this vision that this space that we met in for meetings could be turned into a really welcoming community venue. Gradually she got more people involved helping and built up sufficient funds to then go for a complete refurb and make a decent venue out of it.
Janice: Before, it had a hard floor, it was empty and unwelcoming and echoey, and the comments we get now from people who come and spend time here are all about how what a lovely space, how welcoming it is, how peaceful it is, it’s such a lovely atmosphere here.
Richard: It’s been transformed, it really is quite different, and it’s a very pleasant space to come in to – light and airy when the sun is shining, it’s really quite a friendly space.
Janice: It gives a sense of value to the community, we value enough to invest in this space and give you a quality place, a welcoming place. That then changes the way people treat the space, which has been really noticeable. People are beginning to get an idea and run with it and are able to use this space, and we are able to facilitate that for them because they are then covered by our insurance, they’re covered by all our policies, and we operate with donations. So this morning for the café we don’t sell teas and coffees and cake, people just make a donation to the pot, and it’s sustainable.
Richard: The effect goes beyond the four walls of this building. So from Sedbury almost being a dead space, a black hole where not an awful lot was going on, now community-wise it probably stands out.
Janice: I’d like to see it open more often, I’d like to see more groups being set up – weekly, monthly groups, interest groups – and I’d love to see more people using it. I’m hoping that bit by bit we’ll build up more capacity in our volunteers and also in terms of what we can do.
The Community Spaces Capital Grant
As part of its funding programme, Barnwood has established a Community Spaces Capital Grant. It aims to help support communities and eligible organisations to develop and improve inclusive community spaces through building belonging.
Barnwood’s vision is to create the best possible environment in Gloucestershire for disabled people and people with mental health problems to make the most of their lives. Community spaces enabling people to connect and build relationships with others where everyone is welcome, are a vital part of that environment.
‘Everyone is welcome’ means that particular attention is given to helping people who are usually marginalised to feel that they belong in the community; for example, those with disabilities and mental health problems.