Set up and early management of the William Collyn Community Centre

Discover how we supported the Girton Town Charity to launch its new community facility and established it as a hub for community activities.

About the project

Funder

Cambridgeshire ACRE was commissioned by the Girton Town Charity to undertake this consultancy work.

Why is this needed?

During 2018, the Girton Town Charity built a new £2.1m community centre, known as the William Collyn Community Centre on Wellbrook Way, Girton. William Collyn was the Girton Town Charity’s original 16th Century benefactor and the Centre was named for him.

The Girton Town Charity did not feel they possessed the expertise to successfully set up the Centre and so approached Cambridgeshire ACRE, as a known expert in the running of community facilities, to take on this task for them. Following initial discussions, this morphed into an agreement for Cambridgeshire ACRE to provide full staffing and support to the Centre for a twenty-one month period (Jan-2019 – Sep-2020).

Working in partnership alongside the charity trustees, Cambridgeshire ACRE put in place all the requirements for the Centre to open including designing operating policies, undertaking risk assessments, agreeing cleaning contracts, researching hire charges, setting hiring policy and hire agreements, creating a bookings system, dealing with waste disposal and licencing requirements and, finally, recruiting staff. A highly successful ‘open day’ to launch the Centre was held in late March 2019, attended by over 300 members of the local community.

Over the following months, Cambridgeshire ACRE mentored the staff recruited to work at the Centre to develop the business more fully. This included bookings management, mastering staff rostering, dealing with ongoing health & safety requirements, undertaking website maintenance, managing financial matters and devising and implementing a marketing plan.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the Centre had to temporarily close its doors during the Spring/Summer of 2020 and the Centre staff were placed on the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to safeguard their jobs. Cambridgeshire ACRE then worked to support the Centre to re-open its doors as a COVID-19 secure venue in late summer of that year, once restrictions lifted.

It was always the intention that the Girton Town Charity would one day take the management of the William Collyn Community Centre back in-house, once sufficient staff capacity and operational knowledge had been built. This was achieved on 1 October 2020 when the staff and management of the Centre were officially transferred back to the Girton Town Charity.

How can you get involved?

Cambridgeshire ACRE is able to offer short- and long-term consultancy support to those who provide community facilities to help with specific challenges or for more generalised review/advice guidance.

What impact has our work had?

The following outcomes have been achieved:

Cambridgeshire ACRE team
Launch Event held 30 March 2019

Testimony

“Following their appointment, Cambridgeshire ACRE used their skills and expertise to enable Girton Town Charity to achieve their opening date goal of 1 April 2019. The professionalism of Cambridgeshire ACRE staff ensured a management structure, risk assessments, contracts, policies, procedures and a booking system were securely in place when the centre opened. Their support in recruiting a strong management team for the Centre and to supply appropriate training enabled Girton Town Charity to feel confident to take over the management in October 2020.”

“Their responsive attitude to the challenges of our high technical specification building was always reassuring. The Charity continue their membership of Cambridgeshire ACRE for ongoing support and training and will not hesitate to use their consultancy services when the need arises.”

Ann Bonnett, Chair of Trustees at Girton Town Charity

 

Useful links

Who can I talk to about this work?