Sustainable Community Venues Support

Reach officers identified the need for this project based on their work with voluntary groups managing community venues across the borough in the current RDP programme and in previous programmes. Groups and venues they support include community centres, sports pavilions, heritage venues etc.

They all face similar issues and many require help with:

  • Identifying a range of stakeholders to use the venues to provide income.
  • Establishing marketing plans and help to implement them.
  • Opportunities to network with similar organisations to share information, potentially share services and resources and identify cost saving through collective buying of enery, supplies and maintenance.
  • Optimising their funding potential through looking at collective funding applications e.g. for a peripatetic caretaker, peripatetic development officer, capital building works.
  • Identifying training and information to help address their issues

The Sustainable Community Venues project was designed to deliver the following elements:

Element 1

Work with the management groups of 6 pilot community centres to –

  • Identify cost savings
  • Establish stakeholders and building users
  • Support capital and revenue funding bids
  • Establish Marketing Plans
  • Provide training, information and guidance on a range of relevant topics

Element 2

  • Establish a Network of all community and sport venues in Bridgend County.
  • Support the Network with points 1,2,3 & 5 above
  • Network members to identify which of their communities have limited or no access to Post Office, banks and/or ATM’s and work with the relevantorganisations to establish if these can be supplied
  • Identify ways of improving venues
  • Establish the sustainability of the Network

Element 3

  • Develop a bi-lingual Sustainable Communities Venue Toolkit with relevant guides, contacts, information and checklists to give the information needed to help become sustainable and also ensure compliance with current legislation such as Legionella testing will be produced.   The toolkit will be in a similar format to the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) Toolkit previously developed by Reach funding which continues to be widely used and distributed to CAT projects.
  • An organisation was commissioned to deliver the project a week before the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020. As direct face-to-face support was not possible consultants supported centres with fund applications for COVID relief funds and started work on the Toolkit.

It soon became obvious that one of the immediate impacts of the pandemic was that community needs had changed and food poverty had been identified as an issue in many areas.  Discussions with the venues, stakeholders and FareShare Cymru resulted in recognising the opportunity for the community venues to support their communities with food poverty and simultaneously increase the venues’ sustainability which fitted with the original project remit.

This was achieved by establishing ‘Community Pantries’ in all venues that wished to participate and where possible run these alongside the venues Community Café. This would enable relevant stakeholders to be present in an informal setting to further assist potentially struggling members of the community with help, advice and to signpost appropriately to other organisations. These stakeholders included – local housing associations, the Local Community Coordinators, PCSO’s, Employability team and Credit Union.

Twelve community pantries were established across the borough with over 5400 bags of food distributed to the community carrying over 48,000kg of food.