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Oct 20

Welcome to Member Open House


We know members really value the chance to look round host venues when we hold Regional Network Meetings and other events… but why wait till the next formal meet-up?

Yorkshire and Humber network member Paul Barrett, from The Kirkgate Centre came up with the great idea of Locality members hosting an ‘Open House’– a ‘members only’ chance to pay an informal visit to others from the Network – to learn what others are doing, share tips, steal ideas and make suggestions. There’s no agenda, just time to look around, chat, listen and learn.

Jeremy Corbyn Kirkgate Centre

Paul, who has been busy hosting none other than Jeremy Corbyn at Kirkgate Centre recently, has offered to host the first Open House on Tuesday 28 November (find out more about this event here). Arrive at 10.30am for an introductory chat from Paul then stay as long as you like – there’s a great café if you get peckish. No need to book, just turn up! Find out more about the Kirkgate Centre here.

With four community rooms and a main hall, the Kirkgate Centre is thriving community centre serving Shipley in West Yorkshire. It runs a cafe four days a week and is host to around 2,100 activities and events a year organised by over 100 organisations, groups and families.

The centre’s primary focus is on building social capital and a DIY, can-do approach. There’s a strong ethos and clear organising principles which have led them away from service delivery and contracts and towards community self-organising, focusing on local people’s aspirations to address identified local needs. This has resulted in a wide range of regular volunteer-led activities including many new groups emerging. For example, a focus on isolation and loneliness among older people has led to the development of over twenty user-led activities including swimming, art, photography and a memory club for those with a dementia diagnosis. Other regular activities address a wide range of issues and include a community cinema, children’s play groups, classes, markets, a repair cafe, gigs and community theatre.

Annual turnover hovers around £200,000 – a mix of room hire, subscriptions, grant income and cafe and bar income. Overall, the centre is approximately 50% self-financed through income generation. It is currently working with another organisation on asset transferring its building from Bradford Council.

Would you like to host an Open House?

Get in touch with your local Membership Officer – Alexia for South East (), South West and London, Jo () for Eastern, East Midlands and West Midlands or Kathryn () for North East, North West and Yorks and Humber – who will help coordinate an Open House for your organisation.

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