Big Warsop’s chance to develop a community hub came when a local charitable trust, the Sir John Eastwood Foundation, offered to gift a disused industrial building in the village (the old Eastwood Building) to be used as a youth centre. As a registered charity, Warsop Youth Club had the legal status needed to be able to take on the asset. Backed by funding from Big Warsop, the building was transferred to them in January 2014.
Big Warsop provided £100,000 of its Big Local funding to refurbish the building, and an additional £40,000 has been made available for ongoing development and running costs. The refurbishment project has been managed and organised by Warsop Youth Club trustees, the Rotary Club and volunteers.
The end of the first phase of refurbishment is now almost complete, and there are plans to start using the building for regular activities from Easter onwards.
“The first phase of the refurbishment involved tackling the top end of the building,” explained Halina Kochanowski, who is a member of Big Warsop and a trustee of Warsop Youth Club. “That section of the building had previously been used as office space, so it was already partitioned off. We’ve improved the space by lining and insulating the walls, installing a suspended ceiling and fitting a carpet. We’ve also put in new toilets, including a disabled toilet, and we’ve refurbished the rest room. It’s looking good. The newly renovated section has a totally different feel to it now from when we first took on the building.
“We still need to sort out and clear the area outside the building before we open at Easter,” Halina added. “Other than some work on the electrics, we’re leaving the rest of the building untouched for now – so there is plenty more work still to do in the longer term. We’re taking things one step at a time.”
One of the first activities planned in the building will be the launch of a new youth club. Warsop Youth Club isn’t currently running any sessions – but that is all set to change now that a suitable venue is available. Warsop Youth Club is working with the youth charity Enthusiasm Trust to devise and plan new activities, which will be delivered in the community hub.
“Just before Christmas we invited a group of young people along to the community hub to take part in three pilot sessions,” Halina said. “That was very useful because it helped us understand what kind of activities work best in the space available. The young people involved also contributed their ideas on how the rest of the building could be developed.”
Over the next few weeks the community hub will be used to train volunteers in preparation for launching a new youth club around Easter time.
“The community hub is a work in progress,” Halina concluded. “There is a lot more to be done both inside and outside the building. Our aim in the long term is to provide a facility that offers scope for a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities for the community.
“Initially we will focus on activities for young people, but we also want to work with other groups and agencies to develop the community hub for project delivery and training events. Our vision is to create a thriving, sustainable venue for local residents.”
If you would like to know more about the community hub or you are interested in volunteering, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.