By ADAM TAYLOR
Safety is always on people's minds. From physical injury to emotional turmoil, providing a safe space for your community can help people find refuge. Plus, statistics show that expanding a community centre to offer multiple services can help reduce crime rates. Here are six considerations as you get prepared to create this facility, courtesy of Adam Taylor / Wise Old Owl.
1. Provide Shelter
Community shelters commonly help those suffering from homelessness. Depending on how many homeless you have in your city, it might be a good idea to stock essential items like hygiene products, first aid, and clothing. Your community centre could also provide refuge for those suffering from domestic abuse.
2. Provide Services
Making your community centre multifaceted can make it appeal to more people in your community. Try offering career development workshops or self-care resources. Physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand, so consider various types of gym equipment for a communal fitness centre and a few mental health resources. You could even hold yoga classes or meditation seminars here.
3. Host Events
Community centres are excellent places to host networking events. Each networking event you host should have a specific purpose. For example, one event could cater to a popular hobby and another could help local business owners connect. For all your events, make sure that the space has a relaxing atmosphere so all attendees can enjoy themselves and mingle without being overwhelmed.
4. Design Appropriately
A community centre needs to be designed based on the community's needs. Don't offer services that won't be of value to your specific community. However, you can make sure your centre can quickly transform by having a larger shared room for events and smaller break rooms. Make sure you consider the safety of the building as well. Have multiple exits, strong locks, and good lighting. Lighting is particularly important for outdoor areas, like on the sidewalks and in the parking lot. Long-lasting lighting options include lamp posts made of aluminium or steel, which can easily be customised to fit your chosen aesthetic.
5. Check Your Local Laws
Each district may have its own laws on how community centres can be built. Once you identify a property you think would be ideal, check with your local fire codes to make sure you’re in compliance. This could also be a good time to look into zoning laws for future developments.
Before you can get your community centre off the ground, you'll need to raise money for it. Many community centres get funding from government grants, nonprofits, or other foundations that specialise in such projects. You can also campaign for local donations. Sending out requests through the mail could serve as both a fundraising opportunity and a marketing strategy. A community centre functions much like a business, so it eventually needs to bring in some sort of income. That also means you'll need to balance income and expenses for your community centre. Create a business plan to get clear on how your community centre will thrive.
Community centres can help your city thrive. To emphasise safety and facilitate networking, make sure you provide multiple services in a well-lit area so that your community can comfortably take advantage of this resource.
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