Cornubia, part of Par Bay Big Local legacy and funded by the National Lottery, has been refurbished to provide a vibrant venue to serve the communities of Par, St Blazey and Tywardreath, helping to build a more resilient community by fostering social enterprise, encouraging creativity and promoting healthy living.
With Universal Credit due to be rolled out in February 2018 we decided on a “soft opening” in the reception area to create a home for a Job Club, Universal Credit support (free wi-fi plus computers), financial advice and food voucher distribution. Funding and in-kind support from Ocean Housing, DWP, Live West and Reed in Partnership helped us to reach the target opening date.
We have appreciated the support of community volunteers and local organisations in tackling the daunting task of refurbishing the former auction house and dance hall. It needed replacement windows, rejuvenating flooring, toilets, plumbing and electrical work, removal of old structures / partitions, suspended ceilings, new doorways + fire doors, lift repairs; more recently: new kitchen downstairs + creation of Community Room with additional toilet.
Along with free internet access, we can now offer venue hire for community use – a community activity room and kitchen, ground floor hall with accessible toilet, a small interview room and first floor hall with a sprung floor. The reception has evolved into a retail space housing crafts made by local residents.
We have a growing number of regular activities on offer to boost health and wellbeing: Tai Chi, Tai Kwando, Yoga, Kettle Bells, dance and theatre, local artists’ craft workshops, gallery and shop, craft fairs, exhibitions. Craft sessions are very popular with a busy knitting group,sewing sessions, pottery, and, from this autumn, small cookery workshops in the new kitchen space.
We have welcomed Dragon’s Den style bidding events (Soup) and Community Hub research sessions for other community groups wanting to set up their own centres. The fuschia festival is becoming an established annual event and we aim to hold regular craft fairs. Cornwall Councillor surgeries, Neighbourhood planning group, PCSO surgeries have been able to use our premises.
In addition to to this, for socil enterprise tenants, we provide affordable incubation space in a creative and shared environment. This allows residents to test out a business idea and move on to larger premises once they have found their feet.