Minutes of the first Community Centre Advisory Group

Meeting held on 2nd July 2013 at 9am

Attended: Chris Smith, Simon Stevenette, Ailsa Palmer, Lynda Fisher, Phil Richmond, Francis Maples, Rod Bluh and Margaret Clarke.

1. Introduction – Lynda welcomed everyone and Simon reflected on the importance of firm foundations.

2. Name of Group – Lynda put the new community site in context. PCC owns the land the new centre sits on. Christ Church contributed more than 2/3 of cost of building. The PCC operates via core groups which report to the PCC; and the “Community Centre @ Christ Church Advisory Group” will work in the same way.  The Advisory Group will support Chris with their expertise and skills.

3. Purpose/Definition of group – Each member outlined what they might bring to group. Francis Maples – Unique viewpoint as he works for the Council and is a regular member of Christ Church.

Phil Richmond – he is on the Old Town Group, well known in the Old Town Community. [Mentioned painting/decorating trade apprentices from Swindon College]
Rod Bluh – Councillor and well linked with stakeholders. Helpful connections.
Simon Stevenette – would like to host more events in the centre that add wellbeing.
Chris Smith – project is exciting and he is passionate about it. His other work is as a Locality Facilitator for the Council. Background of working at Dorcan Sports Centre. Centre to be open to everyone.
Ailsa Palmer – link to Parish Office. Helpful with administration background; keen to be welcoming to all the community.
Lynda Fisher – background in working with the disadvantaged – adults and children. Key skills in management. Anyone who comes to the centre should feel better for being there.

4. Update project so far – Foundations completed on 1st July. Timberworks are 8 days late in their timetable but are confident they can make up the time.  At present the actual hall is in sections being stored just outside Swindon and is being brought on site as needed. The build is starting 2nd or 3rd July. A large crane will be on site to lift the pieces into place. There is a 6 week build window.  Chris has met up with Stephen Grosvenor and Mike Palmer who have looked after the project so far. Chris has also starting meeting key other people including Bob Johnson from the Council’s community centres and Mary Fishlock from Lawn Community Centre.

5. Pricing Structure – Chris spoke about the layout and identified 5 bookable areas: main hall, garden room and main hall, garden room, large meeting room and small meeting room. Current prices for existing users will be honoured for 6 months before moving them onto new pricing structure. Consideration is still being given to how church groups might be charged. Paying customer from community will have priority over regular church use as long as 7 days’ notice is given. There was discussion over possible areas of conflict between church use and community use but it was felt that with flexibility these could be overcome.

6. Volunteers – Chris feels that he will need volunteers to help with opening, locking, cleaning and events. There was discussion over the importance of keeping the building clean and therefore the likelihood of the need to employ a cleaner. Chris will ask for a £70 deposit from anyone hiring the facility for an event i.e. a party or where alcohol is present. Important to produce volunteer framework and suggested expectations.

7. Promotions/Advertising – Communication is key! Chris plans to use local radio, local press, website, Facebook and Twitter. He plans an open day for members of the church community and then an Opening Ceremony and day for the community perhaps with a local celebrity – Rory Bremner and Rob Buckland were mentioned.  Very important to keep local press fed with info especially during August when there is dearth of news.  Important to use local press not only that centred on Old Town.  Possibly have a banner on the railings outside Christ Church (possibly Bath Rd too) letting people know about the new centre. Maybe keep people updated via Parish office window – a storyline that changes regularly – build interest. It is important to advertise to the whole of Swindon and not just Old Town. Sara Tye might help us with advice or Sue Pycroft.

8. Questions or ideas – Wi-Fi is essential. There was discussion on various bits of IT kit and what might be available and where sponsorship might be attached from.  We need to consider what is needed in the new centre to help all the community including those with disabilities – up to 20 % of population. The deaf and partially sighted were particularly mentioned.  A business plan has been drawn up for the community centre.
There was discussion on the need for a simple mission statement or list of 4 or 5 aims of the new community centre.  Chris will send something out on this to the members of the group. Lynda made the point that for grant applications any mission statement needs to be individually tailored. There was discussion on any terms and conditions that might apply to any the money given for the community Centre.  Margaret Clark suggested Chris comes to KWS “Tea and Toast” in September to meet parents and carers and publicise the new centre.

9. Next meeting – it was agreed that until Christmas we would meet once a month for an hour long meeting. It was agreed we would endeavour to make this meeting 8.30am-9.30am on the first Tuesday of every month. The next meeting is Tuesday 6th August at 8.30am in Christ Church Parish Office at 36 Cricklade Street.

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