Community centre plans on cards for new trust

NRHNBE110913b2, Judy Woolly, Simon Minto from market cafe, Jess Hartley, Ella McManes and Anne Needham are setting up a Development trust in Heanor.
NRHNBE110913b2, Judy Woolly, Simon Minto from market cafe, Jess Hartley, Ella McManes and Anne Needham are setting up a Development trust in Heanor.

A NEWLY formed Heanor trust has launched ambitious plans to set up a new community centre in the town.

The Heanor Development Trust is the latest group to join in the fight to save the market town.

Since becoming a constituted trust two weeks ago, the five members have entered into talks about opening a multi-purpose community centre in the town with the help of grant funding.

Co-founder and business student Ella McManes, 31, of Heanor, hopes the Trust’s plans could help enliven the town’s community spirit.

She said: “We are looking to really try and improve the lives of people round here – any organisation that wanted to use the space would be welcome to.”

But Ella said the plans for a community centre are in the very early stages and is inviting Heanor townsfolk to come along to an open meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, September 21, at the Wilmott Street Centre.

The group’s members plan to talk about the community centre proposals and invite feedback from the public on the night about their feelings on the town.

Ella added: “These ideas are just ours at the moment, we really want to see what the people of Heanor want. We are appealing for as many people to come along and have their say as possible.”

Ella and the other four members first got together in June.

They got talking at the first meeting of the Heanor Traders’ Association, which saw business owners meet to discuss a battle plan for the future of the struggling market town.

But while the group are supporting the campaign to ‘boost town centre trade’, they wanted to start up a group that concentrated on reviving Heanor’s sense of community as well.

A destination for the new centre is yet to be revealed due to confidential agreement between the Trust and a property owner it is in discussion with.

But Ella said the group is proposing to run a cafe at the centre, which will act as a hub for the trust to run entertainment, health and well-being services for the young and pensioners in particular. It could see regular evening meal events for the elderly living alone, and a meeting room used by local organisations.

The trust aims to fund the project through a number of community grants available, such as the Big Lottery Fund.

It is receiving advice from Locality, a national organisation that helps local community groups set up social enterprises from the ground. Ella said the community centre could run on the same model as the Strutt Centre in Belper, which makes revenue through its cafe’ and hiring out its conference hall.

The Heanor Development Trust is appealing for new members and can be contacted on forever1ella@sky.com.