Community centres improved by independent management group

Published: Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Eight community centres across the borough have gone from strength to strength under the management of the Community Spaces Northampton (CSN) group.

Between February 2018 and February 2019, user numbers across the centres increased by 24.5%, with 83 regular weekly groups using the centres across the year.

Six centres were redecorated with the help of volunteers, a new kitchen will shortly be installed in the Kingsthorpe Community Centre (donated by Wickes), IT equipment has been updated and a disused barn at Lodge Farm converted into a gym for disabled adults.

The group have delivered several community development initiatives alongside the running of the centres in the year since February 2018, including 23 weekend community fun days, litter picks with residents, and the creation of six youth groups.

They have also saved the Borough Council over £1million in seven years on the running costs of eight centres and have partnered with local businesses and community organisations including the Prince’s Trust and Northamptonshire Community Foundation to fund various works.

CSN were the first community group in the country to take on the management of multiple community buildings on behalf of a council and this has since become the working model for other local authorities.

They have a reputation on a national scale, having spoken at large conferences and delivered training workshops on community engagement and asset transfer for seven different councils and two major voluntary sector organisations.

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Community Spaces Northampton have made the operation of these eight community centres a real success.

“Their approach of working closely with residents and volunteers has resulted in some really positive community engagement and we look forward to continuing with this partnership in future.”

Toby Birch, Chair of Community Spaces Northampton, said:  “I firmly believe that this kind of partnership- working with community organisations, volunteers and the Borough Council- is the way forward.

“We support and enable residents to access activities and services in their neighbourhoods and run groups and activities in safe, welcoming venues. We are committed to continue working closely with grassroots agencies and community organisations on a national as well as local scale.”