The Westfield Community Development Association exists to provide a comprehensive life long community education curriculum to the people of the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough area.
It seeks to maintain and develop services which are accessible from cradle to grave. It does this by delivering a range of services from a community centre that;
– provides for pre-school children their parents and carers
– provides for school age children their parents and carers, before, after and out of school.
– provides youth work opportunities
– provides adult education opportunities including information advice and guidance.
– provides recreational and informal learning opportunities.
– provides for and addresses, health, and social welfare issues within the community.
The Westfield Community Development Association is a non-profit making organisation established for charitable purposes. It is a registered company, No 4016718
History of the centre – 40 YEARS SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY.
The Westfield Community Centre and its constituent community groups have a long and appreciated record of service to the local community. In 2007 the community centre celebrated 40 years of community provision. A brief resume of the intervening decades indicates constant developments and adaptation to community needs and aspirations.
The centre began life in 1967 when local people canvassed to have the then closed Westfield Junior School re-opened to provide a place for Hinckley’s first playgroup to meet during the day and a for youth group in the evening. By late 1968, A community centre management committee had formed and the Local Authority had appointed a part time Youth Worker to the centre.
In 1974 The LEA began to reorganise many of its’ schools and colleges as community education centres and broaden the school and college curriculum to life long learning community education provision .At this time the LEA set up Community Associations and invited lay members of local communities and community Groups to form partnerships with local schools and colleges . The aim being to develop locally based community education provision that would be directed by the community for the community in partnership.
At this time The Westfield Community centre became an annex to The Hinckley Further Education College. With the arrival of A Community Tutor /Head of Centre in 1974. The centre’s curriculum was developed to include extensive community work with the voluntary sector, Health and Social Services. The Centre supported the development of a community based day centre for local people with mental health problems, Age Concern drop ins, the local branch of Homestart developed out of the Westfield Women’s group. The Lawns Day centre from a Drop in for the elderly held at the centre, The Hinckley MIND group from The Westfield Mental Health Centre. On an outreach basis the centre played a significant role in developing the local voluntary sector. On site the centre continued to work with Pre school children and their families, and began work with School age children offering a one afternoon per week after school club, cycling proficiency courses and annual summer playschemes.
In addition the centre offered a varied adult evening class programme, and developed Youth work provision over several nights a week.
The late 1980’s and 1990’s have seen further major developments on site The Westfield Community Association “pump primed” and initiated several important community initiatives. In 1989/90 it offered development fund monies to bring all the strands of the community centres’ work with pre-school, children parents and carers into a single project the Westfield Children’s Centre. An under fives room was refurbished and an adjacent junior school Science Room converted. The Children Centre now provides an extensive and comprehensive pre-school curriculum which also includes vocational training for Pre-school and Play workers.
In 1992 the community centre was still reliant on the Meals on Wheels service for its day time elderly and health care groups .The service was providing over 200 meals a week to centre users. The community association offered the “pump priming” monies to convert an existing domestic science room to a community centre kitchen.
Today food is prepared on a daily basis by two part time cooks assisted by Volunteers. The meals are subsidised to support the centres’ work with the elderly and frail and people with mental health problems. For two of the last three years the kitchen has been open on Christmas day providing a Christmas Lunch for twelve months in a new heating system for the community centre, thereby securing its medium term future.
These developments have taken place within the context of building a large comprehensive community education curriculum. The programmes foster a cradle to grave provision covering work with pre-school children their parents and carers, work with school age children and their families, youth work, adult and continuing education, and community work /community development, with an emphasis on community capacity buildingover 100 elderly and socially isolated people in Hinckley and the surrounding villages.
In 1994. Work with the school age children was developed further with the opening of a five day a week kids Club, providing play and learning opportunities before and after school and throughout the school holidays. The Kids Club also assumed the responsibility of running the Westfield summer playscheme, which is in its’ 34th Year.
In 1996, with funds from North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, an Information Technology room was opened at the centre, it is used to provide formal IT training by offering college organised courses and by community, youth, and school age groups for providing their own informal programmes.
1997. The association and its’ constituent groups purchased 2 mini buses with access for people with mobility problems to provide for the various community and youth groups on site, they are available for and used by our wider community partners throughout the Hinckley and South Leicestershire Area.
In 2001 the Community Centre became independent of its Further Education College establishing itself as an independent community education centre managed by local people for local people. Through Westfield Community Development Association, the community raised sufficient funds to purchase the centre for £110,000 and invest nearly £40,000 in the first twelve months in a new heating system, thereby securing its medium term future.
These developments have taken place within the context of building a large comprehensive community education curriculum. The programmes foster a cradle to grave provision covering work with pre-school children their parents and carers, work with school age children and their families, youth work, adult and continuing education, and community work /community development, with an emphasis on community capacity building.
In 2008 the Association formed a partnership with Sure Start, bringing together 20 years experience of The Westfield Children Centre with new resources and programmes to open the Westfield Sure Start Centre, and develop its transport provision into a borough wide community transport hub.
In 2010 The Association, with much of the sector, faced draconian cutbacks to its core funding and in response developed a 3 year restructuring plan to ensure survival into the medium term.
In 2012 the Association was granted charitable status and is embarking on major fundraising initiatives to ensure that the Westfield community Centre remains open to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017 and continues to respond to local community needs and aspirations. The centre today serves approx 1500 users per week employs 32 staff and is home to over 100 volunteers who give their time freely each and every week
“These developments have taken place within the context of building a large comprehensive community education curriculum. The programmes foster a cradle to grave provision covering work with pre-school children their parents and carers, work with school age children and their families, youth work, adult and continuing education, and community work /community development, with an emphasis on the community’s capacity to collectively build social and cultural capital in order to support lifelong learning growth and development.”