Stratford Community House was a collaborative initiative originally led by The Bishop’s Action Foundation working with Stratford District Council and a group of changemakers in Stratford who had identified that a community house would support more sustainable community services for the district. Founding trustee and local changemaker, Mary Garlick, commented that:
“Before the Community House, people in our town didn’t always have access to services. Without rooms for counsellors, advisors, MPS and community groups to work out of, there weren’t always the services in the town. Not everyone has a car or can easily travel to another town to access services, the Community House brought these services to the community, and our community benefits as a result.”
The Foundation managed a large number of participating organisations and facilitated progress towards a range of key milestones:
Ultimately the role of the Foundation was to manage and balance the needs of the various stakeholders and enable their participation in the project without over compromising the needs of any one stakeholder group. The layer of stakeholders was three-fold:
In addition to this, the Foundation supported the creation of a new Charitable Trust to guide the community house into the future and ensure its sustainability. Once the house was up and running and financially stable, the role of the Foundation reduced until the Trust were managing the Community House independently.
Current District Mayor, Neil Volzke, who was also one of the founding trustees, says he is delighted to have been involved since the start.
“When the concept of the Community House was first floated we knew there was a demand for this type of facility. The high use now confirms we were right. The people involved over the years have made this a hugely successful community service.”