Earlier in May we revisited the Gamlingay Eco Hub in Bedfordshire for the second of our new Hosted Tours. Supported by The Glass-House in 2005, we were all struck by how much the community had achieved and how well the building works. Not only has the team vastly improved the sports facilities of its previous incarnation and accommodated many other local needs and interests, but they’ve done so with a strategy for engaging local business that supports their financial viability well into the future.
Bridget Smith, who led this community project inspired us all to consider what we can achieve when we collaborate and look at the bigger picture. The building certainly lives up to its name as a Hub – bringing together diverse groups: sports teams, theatre groups, parents and toddlers, local businesses and the local library, to name a few. One person comes to use the kitchen for her baking business, some come to log on to the internet and others pop in to have a chat and shelter from a rain shower (as happened during our tour!). And new uses they could never have imagined are coming about because of the flexibility the space allows them
Raising the funds, bringing together all those different needs and groups, and then sticking with it through a long journey was clearly no small task. Our tour gave us space to think about being aspirational with ideas, fusing community needs with a business head to deliver funding and choosing the right architect.
What makes for a successful project?
Bridget summarises “every project needs a vision and someone to carry it”. What are we waiting for…?
Our next Hosted Study Tour takes place in London on Tuesday 20 August when we will visit Fortune Green, a thriving public green space in West Hampstead which was recently renovated by Friends of Fortune Green with Camden Council. The tour is free to attend for community groups and organisations!