Everton in the Community CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE and charity staff have gathered to celebrate ‘breaking ground’ on an inspirational new Community Hub in the shadows of Goodison Park.
Adjacent to Everton Free School, the EitC Community Hub will create an innovative regenerated ‘community campus’ that meets the needs of all members of the local community and will be a place for the Club’s official charity to call home.
With work set to be completed by autumn 2016, the EitC Community Hub will be a hive of community activity by day and house many of the charity’s award-winning projects and of an evening, will provide specific community interventions in a more intimate environment allowing community groups to feel they have a connection to, and ownership of, the space.
Part funded by the Big Lottery and Football Foundation, the facilities at the new EitC Community Hub will offer a safe and nurturing environment for local people to acquire new skills and qualifications as well as cultivating the ambitions of those aspiring to a career in sports coaching, activity leadership and early-years development.
The new purpose-built facility will house all EitC employees and operate a social enterprise café which will be open to all as well as a counselling space which will cover a variety of needs. A Family Zone will be open for local community members to use to socialise or for respite and there will be a Teen Zone for younger members of the Everton ward to access EitC programmes and facilities. A number of multifunctional programme delivery and meeting rooms will allow for a variety of the charity’s programmes to be offered as well as an open-for-all studio which will be utilised to deliver health and wellbeing sessions.
Denise Barrett-Baxendale said: “We are delighted to now be at the stage to commence work on our new EitC Community Hub. This fantastic facility will allow us to offer members of our community a safe haven where they can socialise safely; access employment, training, and education and volunteering opportunities; receive support around physical health and provide access for isolated members of our community to engage with us via our programmes.”
The new EitC facility will be located in an area of significant deprivation with almost the entire ward of Everton falling into the most deprived five percent of neighbourhoods nationally. Child poverty levels in the ward are also high with over half of the children living in poverty.
The Everton ward also faces a number of challenges for issues such as unemployment, housing, crime, health and education as well as local residents facing health inequalities which, at the moment, there is no accessible and affordable community facility in the area which can address these challenges.
With such negative social problems to consider, EitC carried out a variety of consultations to establish the needs of the local community, highlight the challenges that people face and explore the solutions that may bring a significant impact to people’s lives.
Various themes were identified as a result of the consultation exercises and as a result, the EitC Community Hub will provide a diverse range of activities that will address the extensive areas of need within the L4 community and also fits into a range of local, regional and national plans as well as addressing a number of key indicators in Liverpool City Council’s Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
The design of the new facility was carried out by Condy Lofthouse Architects with the build contract awarded to Ashlar Construction (NW) Limited who specialise in delivering innovative new build and refurbishment solutions for most construction sectors.