52 Things - Number 4: Set up a Community Hub

Overview and Background:

A ‘hub’ suggests bustling activity, positive energy, and plenty of laughter – it is the focal and central point of a community which brings everyone together. So why not create your own?

The approach: 

Many community hubs are founded within the local village hall or community centre, and become the birthplace of a multitude of clubs and activities for all ages to take part in. This was no different when Cold Kirby, situated in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, chose to become a passionate community hub with the help of Rural Action Yorkshire.

It was clear that Cold Kirby Village Hall could play a vital role not just for their immediate residents, but also for residents of nearby villages who did not have somewhere similar to meet. Volunteers Becky and Julie, with the help of Tess McMahon from RAY, were able to push through their vision to fruition.

Becky explains: “We had refurbished our village hall but it was very underused and we wanted to reach more people. To keep it going and cover our costs, we knew we had to be bringing these people in and attracting them to our activities.”

Becky comes from a social health background and felt that the village hall could play an important role in helping to identify and meet the needs of more vulnerable local people. Two new weekly sessions were introduced through becoming a hub – exercise classes for people over 50 and a fortnightly book-swap exchange that also offered refreshments and useful information and talks.

The ‘Bookmark’ sessions have become extremely popular, as Julie describes, “We are attracting a mix of ages and have had an excellent response to our request for donations. We are also working with the local vicar to identify the most vulnerable in our community, or those who are house-bound, and we are delivering books to their homes or inviting them to come and join us.”

Creating a Community Hub is an excellent way to reach more people, and provide more services for your area. There are the added incentives of helping the most vulnerable and improving the health and wellbeing of everyone who takes part, as well as raising more money for the maintenance of your venue.

With the grant from RAY, Cold Kirby has become a force for good in the community, as Julie adds:

“By becoming a hub we’re starting to see more local ownership of the hall.  If you use it, you start to feel it belongs to you!”