Background Information

                                              

Healthy Communities, BSW Highly Commended  

Broad Street Windows - The Community Hall

AWARDS:        BUPA Healthy Communities Award 2004 + Supported by the Department of Health

Coventry & Warwickshire - Contributions to the Community - Sponsored by Coventry City Council   Two years running

Broad Street Windows (BSW) is a family business operating from a shop/factory unit within the Foleshill district of Coventry.

Processes:   In 1999 BSW purchased the Old Salvation Hall, which was situated next door to their business premises as the shared drive was essential for access. They then had to decide what to do with the building. After approaches by a local resident’s association and a religious group to use the building as a meeting place, a feasibility study was conducted to establish the potential uses of the building as a community hall.
It was apparent there was a real need for a meeting place that was not tied to any one religious or ethnic group which would provide a low cost facility for meetings and entertainment.

The condition of the hall was found to be completely inhabitable requiring a lot of repair work also needing a complete electrical rewire. BSW had to focus on developing the hall during and outside normal working hours. The two directors undertook much of the initial restoration work and staff from BSW were involved within the normal working day when finishing early or weather delayed work. Volunteers from the company and the hall’s users all worked together on the project each bringing their individual skills and expertise.
Foleshill experiences high unemployment, residents are primarily from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups.
For speed and efficiency specialists such as electricians and plumbers had to be contracted in as and when they were needed, funded by BSW, work was completed within the three months time span and the building made habitable again in a very basic form with furniture being donated from local companies.

The hall was finally opened to the public (1999). Prior to its opening six groups had registered as wishing to use the facilities and it is now booked nearly every hour of the day and evening with around 35 events taking place each week. The hall is used for English classes, health awareness, lunch clubs, youth groups, Surestart and Bingo. BSW next objective is to make the hall self-supporting in its every day running costs. This will involve appointing a committee from the hall users to manage the venture, which will in the long term allow application from the lottery funding to build a purpose built building.

As a small company the employment opportunities that BSW can offer the local community are very limited. However the hall means that they have a low cost facility for meetings and entertainment, which hopefully keeps the younger population off the street and encourages a better community spirit.

Following a fire which destroyed the interior of the Foleshill Library, BSW stepped in and offered to convert a lean-to into a habitable room. Contractors and staff worked 12 hours a day for three intense weeks on the refurbishment. Two more weeks were needed by BSW to install heating and lighting and at the same time Coventry City Council library services added carpets, fittings, seating and books and the facility now houses the local library.

Impact

·         The purchase and restoration of the old Salvation Army Hall adding to the company’s already positive profile in the Coventry area

·         which demonstrate first-hand their commitment to the locality-staff involvement in the project is a moral booster within the company

           


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