Friday, 10 March 2017

Community Centre Re-Opens on The Scotland's Estate

The Big Venture Community Centre has finally re-opened on The Scotland’s Estate, in Wolverhampton, following a battle of trying to keep hold of the premises, gain funding and revamp the old adventure playground into something more useful for the community.

The redeveloped centre has a number of rooms that are available for people in the local community to use and hire to run classes, sell goods, learn skills, socialise and relax. It is also home to Big Centre Radio Station and a brand new community café.

Local Councillor Steve Evans said, “I think what was important was to keep the building alive, and through partnerships with the Big Local Community Trust, and more importantly local residents supported by the local council and councillors, [it] has enabled us to keep the building alive for the community, run by the community.”

Chairperson of Big Venture, Karen Trainor, said, “we had already lost [one] centre on the estate, we didn’t want to lose this one as well.” Karen also helps out at the centre by volunteering her time to help run and maintain the property.

One way that the community stay’s in control of the centre is by holding shares. “So far we have sold 70 shares… which has given us a bit of money to start with, and by having a share, people can have a say on the centre,” told Karen.

Chris Allen of the Big Local Trust explained that “about 5 years ago the area was given £1 million to invest. When the Scotland’s adventure centre was under threat of closure, local residents said that what they wanted to do was take it over and run it themselves.”

“The key principle in the programme is that the residents are in control, residents are leaders of this and therefore to have an organisation and building that is owned by the community and an asset for the community,” stated Chris Allen.

Louisa Edwards, from the Community Action & Training Services expressed, “The main purpose of the centre is to provide something for everyone locally so we are looking at getting groups up and running to use the centre, something for everybody right from the little ones up to the older people.”

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