A new place for community groups in Shropshire

PUBLISHED: 17:25 19 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:34 20 February 2013

A new place for community groups in Shropshire

A new place for community groups in Shropshire

The council's headquarters now has space for organisations with limited funds to set up shop

Rooms with a view to helping community groups

The councils headquarters now has space for organisations with limited funds to set up shop

Finding affordable accommodation can be difficult at any time, but small voluntary and community sector organisations with limited resources can find it harder than most.However groups in Shrewsbury will soon have another option when the Community Council of Shropshire opens up its top floor.

The Community Council moved from its town centre location to the Shrewsbury Business Park in 2007. At the time the building was much larger than needed and the top floor was left unfinished. Now it is being refurbished to create a shared space for voluntary and community sector groups to rent.

Chief Executive Julia Baron said: At the time when we were looking for premises ourselves, we found it extremely difficult to find somewhere large enough but affordable to move to. Thankfully we found a sympathetic developer who was able to let us have a building we could afford by leaving the top floor unfinished. We didnt have the money to complete the work and the space has only been used for storage, but it was always our intention to find a way to convert it into office accommodation or meeting rooms.

A number of grant applications were submitted without success but finally, an application to the Government-sponsored Capacitybuilders hit the jackpot. Work is underway to create a training suite for around 30 delegates and an office for up to 10 people, both available from September.

Julia said: The office space will be available to voluntary or community sector groups who need a home. It will be ideal for those organisations that employ a few part-time staff but need an administrative base to work from. We will be able to provide reception, photocopying and other services, either in a small or shared office.

The building is a modern design with large windows and, being on the top floor, the space will offer a birds- eye view across the Business Park as far as the South Shropshire Hills and the Wrekin. Rooms will be finished to a high standard with air conditioning and broadband.

The funding to undertake the work requires the Community Council to offer the space to voluntary and community sector organisations at below market rent. This will be valuable support to groups in the current economic climate, as well as giving them access to other services available through the Community Council such as support with raising funds, strengthening governance and training. Julia added: Our vision would be for this to be a combination of a one-stop shop for organisations and an opportunity to help them grow and become sustainable. When they outgrow the space available here, we hope that they will move on to somewhere larger and enable other small or embryonic groups to take their place.

The training suite will be available for any organisation to rent on a commercial basis. This will comfortably accommodate up to 30 delegates and has facilities such as an interactive whiteboard, overhead digital projector and tea and coffee making facilities.

Again the space will be light and airy and very pleasant for holding a training event. We already run quite a number of training courses ourselves and this will be a valuable facility for our own use but we very much welcome enquiries from other organisations wishing to hire the space, added Julia.

Anyone interested in renting space or hiring the training suite should contact Jo Whiston, tel: 01743 237871 or email: jo.whiston@shropshire-rcc.org.uk

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