For a small and quite old building the Community Centre has masses going on. Most of us appreciate it is not easy to make a modern thriving community building work from a converted wartime nursery. But that is, more or less, exactly what happens. Every day. The Trust soldiers on, making the best of the spaces available and effecting a seemingly endless number of repairs and the occasional upgrade. The one major target everyone is working towards is replacing the current structure with a purpose-built new Centre on the same site. It is a lengthy process and among the items below are the latest steps along that long road.
If you are looking for something entertaining to do on Friday 6th March then why not turn up at the Centre at around 7pm, and join in the latest Quiz Night. Quiz nights are a great craze, bringing people together, with every possibility we might learn something by the end of the evening. Every table group contributes to that team's answers, and even wild guesses can turn out to be sparkling correct answers; time to impress the next table in the room!
You may not realise, but Larks in the Park is organised by the Friends of Fleetville Community Centre. Larks, as it is affectionally known, is a city-wide event held at local parks around the districts of the city. In 2020 reserve the date Sunday 5th July. The Rec, otherwise known as Fleetville Park, regularly attracts over a thousand visitors at this event, most local but there are also plenty of people making a longer journey to enjoy themselves. It is also free to enter! The emphasis is on family activities, music and entertainment.
Parking in Royal Road has always been a thorny issue. The very first parking regulations, back in the 1930s, provided for general parking at the Hatfield Road end. Of course the house owners also required space outside their homes. The Community Centre had its own line of spaces off-road, which of course means no roadside parking outside the Centre. This has always been assumed because of the right-angled parking behind the pavement, but it seems the intention is to lay double-yellows, just to make sure. Finally school staff use up what is left between the zig-zags and the raised crossing. Currently there is also a single disabled space outside the entrance ramp to the Centre.
However, we are now in the middle of a consultation which will see most of the current arrangements confirmed, but the general parking will disappear in favour of a block of residential spaces. The disabled space will also disappear.
The "elephant" along the road remains the question of parent parking in connection with the school.
No other community centre in the city generates as much activity as Fleetville. Of course much is possible because of the number of spaces. You would be amazed at the variety of sessions the Centre hosts. Pop in any day and the Centre appears busy.
At the beginning of weekdays the limited amount of circulation space is full with little children and their parents en-route to the Playgroup or Kindergarten. As for everyone else could you be interested in yoga? Or if not, perhaps Sue's Art, Painting for Pleasure or Calligraphy might appeal. What a creative lot we must be! The New Testament Church of God fills the Centre with sound, as does Dawn's Choir – and a lot lot more (see here).
The Centre is popular because there is so much happening, and so many friendly people to chat with. Take the plunge!
There will now be relatively few residents of Fleetville unaware of the Centre's long-term plan for replacing the present temporary 1942 structure with – well certainly something better. So far the Trust has been doing a lot of listening and members have been out and about in community buildings all over the region accumulating ideas, understanding the huge improvement in building standards and our need to have a low energy, low carbon footprint. You will be seeing examples of what we have in mind in the coming months.
Wander into the Centre when next passing and pick up the latest leaflet which summarises the progress made in 2019 and how far the Trust will have reached by the end of 2020.
It will also include a second public consultation in the third quarter. The first was held in 2016 and the results and provided a range of suggestions for the Trust to consider.
Who knows, we might be walking into a bright new purpose-built centre by 2025. That's something to look forward to!
© 2021 St Albans' Own East End Mike Neighbour