The community centre as a community centre
When looking to establish a community centre the first consideration is the role of that centre now and into the distant future? Where are you headed? What is the vision? How will it serve the community?
It would be easy to conclude that pressure from councils and objectors has pushed community groups to seek ‘easy’ sites when looking to establish a centre; often looking at industrial sites amongst light industrial factories and workshops as a suitable location. No issues related to aesthetics, noise, and after hours use. How much easier can it get? It can’t.
But what about the people you are intending to serve? And what about their children? A community centre should be located where it can best serve the community. Right in and amongst it all – in a residential or mixed use zone. Historically speaking the permit is going to be more difficult to achieve yes, but there are ways to mitigate this process and actually turn it into a positive experience – one of proactive engagement and learning. By changing mindsets as to the role of the community centre.
If in fact it is to be of benefit to the surrounding community (and it should), it needs to do more than simply provide a place of congregation. It really needs to provide social infrastructure to all. For that to occur successfully, all the stakeholders should be invited to contribute and comment as to what services or infrastructure is needed. Imagine a process where council, local groups and neighbours have provided their input at the inception that were adopted fully or in part – what likelihood then that they don’t support the proposal?
More than that, what likelihood then that the centre becomes a positive contributor to social cohesion and harmony. What if… it actually is a community centre…?