04 September 2013
Community hub in barnet
This project has been nominated for the 2013 Inspire awards run by Inspire magazine in partnership with us at the Evangelical Alliance.
Barnet Community Projects (BCP) exists to facilitate long-term social improvement in the London borough. BCP has five core projects – youth work sessions, the Switch skatepark project, the Workshop, Rainbow Centre community development and the café.
As an umbrella organisation for these five grassroots community projects, BCP are meeting needs of the people in the area by empowering residents to achieve things themselves.
They have developed partnerships with authorities, voluntary projects and organisations in a common effort to provide social activities, employment, opportunities, information and advice
The Rainbow Centre has been set up as a community hub. It has been refurbished and is run by local residents and volunteers. Now a thriving centre, full of life and energy, people of all ages and stages get to meet, be involved in various projects and courses and support one another in community life.
Nick Moeke, who nominated the project, said: "BCP deserve this award because of all their hard work and enthusiasm. The team selflessly give of themselves, often going beyond what they are paid to give, to improve the lives of the people they seek to serve.
"They focus on providing facilities to meet needs, are never afraid of a new challenge, seek to help bring communities together and encourage partnership work, and they too seek to do all this by training and using local residents, giving them opportunity to make the difference they desire."
Barnet is a multi-racial and multi-faith area and the team have developed an affordable café as a community hub and information centre. The projects offer young people opportunities to try new sports and improve their employment prospects through workshops, job clubs, mentoring and training. One exciting development recently has been the number of local people finding jobs. Some people who have been long-term unemployed are now finding the support, training and encouragement they need to get into work and the mentoring into work scheme is now seeing positive results.
The café started serving drinks and snacks in September 2011, primarily to the art classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays. In November Chef Plus setup a small business based in the kitchen at the centre. Ben from Chef Plus has experience and skills in food safety which meant he could guide the staff at the centre to set up a good quality café for the community and they are able to offer cooked food.
The café opened with the team of volunteers working hard to provide the warm welcoming environment BCP were seeking to create. The one thing most people say when they walk into the Arc is "this is a really nice place to come".
Barnet community projects youth team empowers young people to achieve their potential in their individual lives and as a part of their wider community. They support people who want to make a difference to the places where they live. Community Souls is a project that reaches out to young people on local estates – using a nail bar, football club and drop-in sessions.
Community Souls' vision is for young people to have a direct influence on their community. They want to support young people in identifying their needs and provide support to create positive solutions that will benefit their lives and local area. They achieve this through workshops, positive activities, peer-mentoring and community events that create pathways to employment.