Here at Jetty Lane headquarters we’re starting 2019 with all systems go! Our plans for the new community, arts and youth centre in Woodbridge are all coming together.
As some of you will remember, early in 2017 we were given the opportunity by Suffolk County Council (who own the land where the old Youth Club used to be) to come up with a viable business plan to build a new centre, otherwise it was highly probable that the land would be sold off to developers and lost to the community forever. We swung into action as fast as we could, writing a business plan, choosing a design for the building and incorporating as a community interest company as this was the quickest and easiest way to move forward. Now that we have overcome several challenges and the broad outline of our plans are in place, we’re at a good point to revise and strengthen our position, making our plans more relevant, more detailed, more up to date. The first item on our agenda is to become a charity and we are starting that process now, with help from our ProBono partners, Larking Gowen Chartered Accountants. Once we’re a charity we’ll be able to claim Gift Aid on donations and the pool of grant-making bodies that we’re eligible to apply to for funding will be much bigger. We’ll keep you informed of progress.
Later in January we’re expecting a decision on our planning application currently at the district council: once this has been agreed we’ll be in a position to get down to designing the nitty gritty of the interior of the building. Do we need to provide more storage space? Will people predominantly use the centre for fitness and sport or for arts and crafts or for classes and meetings or for playgroups or for concerts, dance and drama? Should we provide showers? These are important questions: the more information we can gather about the needs of the community, the better we can brief the design team. The better the design team is briefed, the more suited to the needs of the community the building will be, the more suited to the needs of the community the plans are, the more fit for purpose the building will be and the more it will be used..
We have already gathered some very useful data. Following our recent survey we know that out of 157 respondents, 70% intend to get to the centre on foot and 20% by bicycle. We offered a prize which could be entered by people who had completed the survey. This was kindly donated by Claire Lalaguna of SatelliteMPR and was drawn at the Christmas Showstoppers concert on 15th December. It was won by June Cowles. June was delighted with her prize and chose to spend her voucher at The Table restaurant.
Some community groups have been enormously helpful and have already given us a firm commitment to say they will hire our facilities, they’ve also been clear about what they need. But we need more!! We’re now launching another short online survey. This time we’re particularly keen to hear from young people up to the age of 25. We’re offering two prizes: one for surveys completed by children 0-14 years old (with guidance by parents or guardians) and one for surveys completed by 15-25 year old. We would love to hear from as many young people as possible. The survey can be completed anytime before 15th February 2019. The link for the survey can be accessed here:
Do keep in touch. We’re always keen to hear comments and suggestions.
We’re keen to set up a volunteer fundraising team – if this is something you might be interested in joining, do let me know.
Happy New Year!
Cordelia Richman, Project Manager, Jetty Lane