Redevelopment of Cunningham Library and Creation of the Space for Community Use
Herts County Council has completed the £1 million refurbishment works to the former Cunningham Library in Cell Barnes Lane and St Albans Day Services have now taken up occupancy.
St Albans Day Service supports people with a wide variety of needs and aims to provide responsive services in a safe, caring and supportive environment, which meets the needs of each individual, promotes independence and encourages choice. The service offers people a variety of opportunities, including work experience, social skills and leisure activities. Amongst the activities available are bowls, boccia*, cooking, art, crafts, communication, community access, conservation, drama, intensive interaction etc.
The refurbished building provides modern services for adults with a learning disability, living in St Albans and Harpenden, who need daytime activities, care and support, or whose carers need respite.
St Albans City & District Council and Herts County Council are working in partnership on this project and the aim is that when the building is not being used by St Albans Day Service some rooms will be available for community use, after 4.30pm each day and on Saturdays, from September 2011 onwards. This includes community use of a computer suite.
St Albans Local Strategic Partnership has set aside £10,000 for each of 2 years to help with the development of the Hub as a community centre. It expects that this funding will be used to offset room hire costs for emerging community groups whilst they are becoming established, as well as publicity around promoting the availability of the building for community use and some administration charges.
St Albans City & District Council has recently published its Inclusion Strategy, the aim of which is to encourage an inclusive community where everyone has the opportunity and capability to take part and contribute to community life. One of the projects coming out of the strategy is to provide two new community resource centres actively shaped and run by the communities themselves. The Cunningham Hub is one of these resource centres.
* Boccia is a Paralympic sport for athletes with severe disabilities affecting motor skills. Boccia is a target ball sport belonging to the same family as petanque and bowls.
Building Layout and Facilities
Rooms are available for hire from Monday 5th September 2011.
It is expected that the building will be mainly used by local people and groups and that the majority should be able to walk to it although limited car parking will be available. A management committee is being set up which will set the guidelines for the building’s use and it is expected that the building will not be open late at night.
An open day was held on Saturday 11th June so that the public and community groups could look around the building and see for themselves what there is to offer in terms of meeting space. Over 70 local residents attended.
A number of people and groups have already expressed interest in the possibility of using rooms in the new Cunningham Hub (working title). If you would like to know more or wish to register your interest in hiring rooms from June onwards then please email Tony Bridges or telephone 01727 841610