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A look at community buildings and their importance

As a radio station, we know that community buildings allow for exciting activities to take place in convenient locations within a town. Karen Holdsworth-Cannon, Community Buildings Advisor from Surrey Community Action came in to speak with Dave Smith about how a community can come together to save a much loved facility with a particular look at the North Leatherhead Community Group [first broadcast Saturday 30 July 2016].

Karen stressed how important it is that the community has spaces to run the events, activities and groups they want. There are over 5000 community buildings – churches, halls, centres – all in Surrey, all running essential services that each particular community has organised dependant on the wants and needs in each area.

With reference to the North Leatherhead Community Group, Karen explained the roles that the local district council Mole Valley, the community and Surrey Community Action took to regenerate the community centre building on the Kingston Road, Leatherhead. Mole Valley stepped up to organise the much need renovations to allow the building to continue to open safely, a new committee was formed of passionate local representatives and Surrey Community Action supported, guided and advised all parties to allow this project to work to the best it could.

Surrey Community Action is a countywide independent charity, which provides a range of services to help voluntary and community groups to help others. They aim to support and strengthen the voluntary, community and faith sectors in Surrey with funding and business advice, advocacy and financial service. Projects include working with vulnerable groups with challenging needs and behaviours, families in need (housing and benefits support) and assisting the elderly.

Much of Karen’s work starts with the local people. In any situation where a facility may be failing, she would initially appeal to the community and ask what does the building means to them, what it is used for, what is the community usage of the site. A broad and comprehensive view of the local area, people benefiting from services and a sight of what is needed to be done can all be achieved through communication.

The future at the North Leatherhead Community Group

The future looks bright for the community centre in Leatherhead:

  • Training given to the new committee to increase their confidence and understanding of the task in hand
  • Hall available to hire at reasonable
  • Defibrillator training for anyone in the community in September
  • Paediatric First Aid training in association with Surrey Fire and Rescue Centre/Surrey County Council

To find out more about our local centre and how you can get involved, or to keep up to date with the centre’s improvements, you can find further information online:


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