Two community asset transfers are set to be given the go-ahead by Stoke-on-Trent City Council – giving groups the opportunity to run and manage their own facilities.
The city council’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday, October 22 where they will be asked to rubber stamp asset transfers in Fegg Hayes and Fenton, which involve handing over the management of land and a currently unused building on 25-year leases.
In Fegg Hayes, the Sylvester Community Trust has plans to develop an area of former coal mining land into a community garden and growing field. The space, off Oxford Road, will allow residents to grow fruit and vegetables and see schools educate children about how food is grown and the benefits of healthy eating and active lifestyles.
The group has also been awarded £49,000 from the council’s Community Investment Fund to get the project off the ground and establish a permanent base on the site for community meetings and events, as well as a sensory garden and wild play area. Work on the community garden could begin this year, and the group hopes to start planting early in 2020.
At the same meeting, the council’s cabinet will be asked to transfer Fenton Community Centre over to the Multiple Abilities Club (MAC). The charity, which was established more than 30 years ago, is a club where anyone can be a member and everyone is equal. The club is currently based at the Trent Country Club, in Birches Head, and offers social evenings where people can be themselves, make new friends and overcome social isolation.
The club has also received £49,000 following a successful bid to the council’s Community Investment Fund, to carry out work to the community centre building if the asset transfer goes through. The club, which has 3,000 members, would use the building as its headquarters, and also make it available to hire for community events.
Cllr Randy Conteh, cabinet member for communities and safer city, said: “It’s great to see communities becoming more empowered and looking to breathe new life into local spaces and properties, and we’re really keen to support these type of community groups and initiatives. Community asset transfers take away some pressure from the council in the ever increasing tough financial climate, and benefit the community enormously at the same time by giving residents a big say in improving their area.
“It’s also really pleasing to see two more Community Investment Fund projects hopefully coming to fruition. These are just two of 142 groups, clubs and organisations across the city who successfully bid for a share of the £3 million fund which has made real differences to people and communities across the city.”
Sue Akkurt, chairperson of Fegg Hayes Residents' Association, and chair of Sylvester Community Trust, said: “There’s quite a big waiting list for allotments in the area, so the idea is people can come and grow fruit and vegetables. It will be a communal area where people can meet and socialise, so it will have physical and mental benefits for everyone. We want to engage with the local schools so we can help educate young people on where food comes from, and the importance of a healthy diet. We want this to be a legacy project.”
Carole Haw, chairperson of MAC, said: “Moving the club to Fenton will open the door to new opportunities for our charity to expand and offer new activities for the community. We hope to open the hall day and night, seven days a week, to both our members and the public. The building in Fenton is in the heart of the community and is a much needed asset for those who live around it. If the transfer goes through, we hope to be able to rename the building Alan’s Place in memory of the club’s late chairperson.”
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