Published Friday, 23rd July 2021
Tackling isolation, intergenerational activities, and activities for children and parents as well as for older people are among the services planned for the Council's new look community centres.
The aim of the changes is to extend the reach of the three centres in Banstead, Horley and Woodhatch so that they better meet the breadth of community needs, both now and in the future.
The changes follow a consultation in the spring that asked community centre members and volunteers, charities, local groups and users what is important to them about the centres, as well as seeking the views of the wider community about what they would like to see on offer.
The new offer at each centre will be shaped by users, volunteers, local residents and partners with a focus on wellbeing, including:
- Activities - a varied activity programme that supports wellbeing for all ages, with low cost activities largely run by instructors, groups and volunteers who can share their interests with others. Suggestions include a grandparent’s stay and play, pregnancy yoga, art club, dementia support and exercise classes.
- Food and drink – a new café menu to bring in people from across the community that offers healthy and affordable drinks, snacks and hot lunches. The centres will also link up with food clubs, food banks and local growing projects.
- Spaces – places for residents to come together, such as sessional room hire for community groups, businesses and private functions, as well as for charities and small businesses to provide services that meet local need.
- Outreach - new community projects based in the centres and a location for outreach activities, working with voluntary and community sector partners and teams across the Council, to ensure an accessible, borough-wide offer with a greater focus on community enablement.
Although recently affected by COVID-19 restrictions, the three centres have previously provided a welcoming place for the over 50s offering a range of activities, as well as hireable rooms for community groups and events. The centres also host charities like Citizens Advice and services such as podiatry and hairdressers.
Creating vibrant multi-use facilities
Cllr Rod Ashford, Executive Member for Community Partnerships, said: “The Council is fully committed to our community centres and our recent consultation and engagement activities reinforced their great value to those who use them. It also showed residents are keen to see the centres provide a wider offer to support people of all ages.
“The centres will therefore continue to provide the services our older residents know and love, but we also want to broaden our offer, so they become community centres in their true sense - vibrant, multi-use facilities that meet the needs of the community as a whole.
“We will be co-designing the services for each centre with those who will be using them. There will be lots of opportunities for current members, volunteers and potential new users to share their ideas as the plans develop. We will also get input from local voluntary and community sector organisations. Each centre will have a bespoke offer, tailored to its community.”
As part of the consultation in March 2021, the Council wrote to all centre members, users and volunteers as well as 3,000 residents living in the vicinity of the centres with a survey. Interviews and focus groups were also carried out with members, volunteers and partners from December to January, prior to the survey.
Further engagement will take place in the autumn.
More information about the centres, along with feedback from the consultation, is available on the completed consultations page. Those without access to the internet can pick up a paper copy at any of the community centres.