Hanwell Fields is a new housing development on the outskirts of Banbury which includes an innovative community centre with a separate youth wing.

The policy of Cherwell District Council, who owns the building, is to mange such facilities for a maximum of three months, at which time they will hand it over to either a group of residents or any other interested organisation that can competently mange the resource.

Residents were involved in discussions to develop the best way of managing the community centre, the youth wing and the residents association and it was decided to develop a simple structure of various committees of residents, who would be supported by officers from Cherwell District Council and Paradigm. The structure included:

  • A Youth group
  • A Residents Association
  • A Community Centre Management Committee
  • An overall general committee which consists of a fixed chair and treasurer and representatives form three sub groups

This way, residents are involved in the group that interests them without feeling too overwhelmed, as for many of these residents this was the first time that they had taken an active role in a community group.

Residents are now regularly involved in these committee meetings, enjoying being involved and making good progress which is evident by the community centre being used for 85% of the time and the youth centre operating 3 nights a week.