And the winner is…

This year’s Open Your Space Awards, recognising strong partnerships between venues and their local community, received a host of entries from across the country.  We were delighted to welcome guest judge Lara Newman, Chief Executive of LocatED, who selected Pelton Community Centre as the overall winner from our five finalists.

Lara said: “Here at LocatED we firmly believe that schools and other community venues shouldn’t be closed off and behind metaphorical fences. They are usually positioned at the hearts of their communities and it is our duty to ensure that they are sustainable, flexible and responsive to the real needs of the people in those communities and that local people feel involved and proud of these spaces and buildings. The short-listed entrants all demonstrated a real understanding of what schools and community centres can offer – stuff that makes a real difference to the people they serve whilst also ensuring that what they do is commercially sustainable. I was really thrilled to see such great examples!

I chose Pelton Community Centre as the winner because of the focus and tenacity of the project. This shows that successful and proactive community use is scaleable – I was hugely impressed to see that there are as many as 50 groups using these community facilities and the Hawthorne Project tackles something that I feel strongly about – social isolation and loneliness. I also know how important school holiday clubs are and really liked that the families were able to attend as well as the kids. This scheme shows real community interaction – the huge footfall alone shows that what this project is doing is working well!”

Clare Robinson, Centre Manager at Pelton Community Centre said: “We are over the moon that our hard work and engagement with the community has been acknowledged in Kajima’s Open Your Space Awards. It is truly testament to the partnerships we have developed along the way and recognition of the commitment of our staff and volunteers who are dedicated to organising a variety of activities and social occasions for everyone to enjoy throughout the year.

Here at Pelton, we are so proud to be able to share our centre with the community because we know how important it is to bring people and families closer together. We look forward to hosting more events that are accessible for every one of all ages, so we can say a big thank you back to the community. It’s been a fantastic year and we are excited to see what further opportunities this can bring.”

You can read all five finalist nominations here.