From Youth Club to Community Hub
Residents of Sedbury (a village sitting above Chepstow in Wales but still just within the Forest of Dean) had a big idea to transform a small space in their community.
What they are achieving is inspiring – converting an underused ground floor space into a thriving hub. The community is involved in the project and the project highlights the practical approaches that other communities might learn from for their own projects.
A ground floor former shop in Sedbury, being used to hold a youth club and occasional other events, was an underused and limited resource for this relatively economically and geographically isolated village. It’s location (and Welsh postcode) on the edge of Gloucestershire also led to challenges for the community, including accessing statutory and other services.
The key aims of the project were to develop a hub for services and advice to be delivered locally, and to revitalise the premises into a welcoming and accessible local resource for a wide range of activities. Residents saw redeveloping the fairly tired space as an opportunity and used the strengths in the community to do this.
The refurbishment and remodelling involved making a feature of its large shop window onto the street, creating different internal and external spaces including a small café, larger community room, a meeting room and toilet and peaceful landscaped backyard, all of which are fully physically accessible, turning the space into an attractive, welcoming community venue.
Clearly, a project like this does not come without costs and Sedbury Space (the name of the organisation and the new hub) were well aware of the challenges. Following an approach to Barnwood, they developed design plans and set a realistic budget and in 2017 Barnwood granted £25,000. This grant helped attract more local community support – bringing people’s skills and determination to the project. Along with that came other funders, whilst the local community support led directly local donations including a successful crowdfunding campaign towards the total raised of over £54,000.
Key tips Sedbury Space would like to pass on to interested communities are:
- The value of frequent communication and trying to get a ‘buzz’ about it locally
- Having someone with time and energy and skills to head up the project
- Getting key skilled voluntary personnel in place e.g. a treasurer, secretary etc.
- Developing key partnerships – for them, it was local churches, the landlord, village agent, district council and funders.
“From a seed of an idea in passing conversations five years ago it’s fantastic to see this project come to fruition. It has not always been smooth running and requires determination and perseverance but it’s amazing when the shared vision is finally realised. However, this is just the beginning and a springboard for further exciting plans. “
Visit other spaces and places – physically or even online such as Roots Café and Community or Viney Hill Community Centre.
Get on the mailing list for the funding bulletin produced by Gloucestershire VCS Alliance http://www.glosvcsalliance.org.uk/
Have a look at the Community Spaces pages on Barnwood Trust’s website
Attend Barnwood Trust training or talk to us about whether it can deliver a bespoke workshop for your community https://www.barnwoodtrust.org/learning/workshops/
Interested in gathering members of your community together to think about what would benefit your local area? Barnwood has a fund called Small Sparks to help people in Gloucestershire do something they enjoy and make a difference to where they live