Choose Abingdon’s Community Use Scheme has been so popular with community groups that the original idea of the scheme is being expanded. When the Partnership first invested in some gazebos it was mainly envisaged that they would be used as part of the Local Excellence Market, to enable small traders starting out to take a pitch without necessarily having to invest in equipment before they knew if their business model would work. It soon became obvious that the gazebos were also very much in demand by community groups who want to run events in the town. Choose Abingdon exists to help such initiatives to flourish by providing a helping hand or just removing some of the barriers that make it difficult or expensive to get events started, particularly in their first year or so.
For the past two years now the gazebos have been lent to community groups for events on the Market Place and elsewhere. Small rental charges are levied to cover the wear and tear and to make sure the project can sustain itself. In 2012, the number of gazebos was increased and now we have also received funding for two marquees which will be used for some events (under supervision). This is all thanks to the Government’s High Street Innovation Fund and the Oxfordshire County Council Big Society Fund, accessed by one of our board members, Cllr Marilyn Badcock.
This is a typical example of the joined-up approach that the Partnership helps to foster, with councils, Partnership and community groups all working together to create a vibrant community life.
Perhaps you are interested in finding out more about using the gazebos for your club or society to play and part at a local event or organise one yourselves? If so please contact us for further details.