On Sunday 7 November, Wormley & Turnford Big Local (WTBL) hosted their ‘Big Handover Celebration’. This was in recognition of the Big Local taking over the management of Wormley Community Centre from Broxbourne Borough Council on behalf of the local community.
This vibrant, inclusive, community party was attended by over 100 local residents as well as the Leader of Broxbourne Borough Council Councillor Lewis Cocking, the Mayor of Broxbourne Councillor David Taylor and various other local councillors showing their support.
Beginning with the WTBL AGM, attendees were taken through a presentation from the WTBL Partnership Members, highlighting all the amazing achievements of the project over a difficult and challenging year, during which the WTBL continued to support the community, in particular with regards to their COVID recovery. This was followed by speeches from Big Local representatives on the 999-year lease that has been secured on the building and their plans for future refurbishment work to ensure sustainability, growth and exciting future opportunities.
After the ceremonial handing over of the key from Broxbourne Council to Big Local, the Big Handover party started! Afternoon tea, a live band and children’s entertainers – all provided by local businesses – were some of the main attractions that went into making this free event such a success for all that attended.
The Co-Chair of Wormley & Turnford Big Local, Breda Higgins said: “The WTBL AGM was a very successful event. Our first face to face event since the pandemic. Following COVID-19 guidelines, the community and the WTBL Partnership’s members got together to support the success of the community hall now belonging to its residents. The atmosphere was vibrant and jolly. There was a real feeling of ownership, belonging and achievement. With the strong support from the residents I believe the community centre will be the subject of many community discussions. The journey has begun!”
Noelle Blackman, the Chair of Broxbourne Big Local, the legal entity created by WTBL to take on the lease, also said: “We at Big Local are thrilled to have been given this 999 year lease on the community centre. It has been quite a journey, starting with really listening to what local people were saying was missing from their community. What we heard over and over again was that there was nowhere in Wormley and Turnford where people could come together regularly in all sorts of ways. To learn, to seek advice, to celebrate, to remember together, to worship, to get healthy, to dance, to meet up, to party, to have fun and much more besides.”
“What was really missing was a heart to our community. And now this much loved but rather neglected building right in the very centre of Wormley and Turnford, will be given a new lease of life and become just that – the beating heart of the community. That is the vision. It will take time, but already it has begun and it is very exciting. We are really grateful to the Council for believing in the community and helping us to get to this point.”
Leader of Broxbourne Borough Council, Councillor Lewis Cocking said: “As a representative of this ward I couldn’t be happier with Wormley and Turnford Big Local taking over the management of the Wormley Community Centre. This is an amazing and much-needed step forward to ensure that the local community continues to benefit from the invaluable services hosted in this facility. I am so pleased we were able to mark this occasion, despite the delay caused by COVID-19 restrictions. The team at the Wormley and Turnford Big Local boast an impressive wealth of experience and I am confident in their ability to provide an incredibly positive impact on community groups and individuals for years to come.
“The handover is very much aligned with the Council’s corporate priorities that include A Thriving Economy that offers business growth and jobs, Sustainable Living in an attractive environment and An Effective Council that is efficient and responsive to the needs of residents.”
WTBL will be hosting their Christmas Community Party on Friday 17th December. More details on this will be posted on their website and social media nearer the time.