South Gloucestershire Council is to partially reopen The Batch Community Centre in Warmley to allow Creative Youth Network to run services for young people.
While the centre is open, a formal Expression of Interest (EOI) process will be underway to secure a new long-term operator for the venue.
The centre, which is owned by the council, was forced to close after the previous operator, the Banjo Island Community and Sports Association (BICSA), handed back the keys in October last year. Since then, the council has undertaken repair work to the building and held discussions with select partner organisations who had indicated an interest in taking over the facilities.
A new operator is needed to run the building for the community, including the café, as well as to provide space for the Youth Club run by Creative Youth Network (CYN). So far none of the local organisations approached have been able to take on the whole operation.
CYN have previously run open access youth work at the Youth Wing of The Batch, reaching hundreds of local young people. Now that facilities have been restored and improved, the council will facilitate a partial reopening so that these services can be restored.
Jack Fitzsimmons, Youth Work Manager for Creative Youth Network, said: “We are really pleased to be able to restore essential services for young people and keen to continue them as an important part of our work with the community when a new operator is found. During the temporary closure, we maintained some youth work in the community and offered some 1:2:1 support, but young people really miss their safe space at The Batch youth club.”
South Gloucestershire Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children and Young People, Cllr Samuel Bromiley, said: “I am really pleased that, having done the much-needed work to restore and improve The Batch, we are now able to get Creative Youth Network back in to deliver activities for young people. We know how much they are valued by young people in the area.
“The next step is to find the right operator for the future, which will be able to offer stable management and put The Batch back at the heart of the community. This building is so much more than a café; it is a place to meet and a hub for many local sports teams and other groups. We are running a formal and transparent process to make sure we secure the right operators to help deliver these facilities.”
The formal Expression of Interest process is now underway. The opportunity to manage The Batch has been advertised to charities, community organisations and other suitable groups who could take on the management role. This includes managing the community spaces, including the Youth Wing for organisations such as CYN, operating the food and drink facilities, as well as for private hire for local people to use. Potential operators have been able to visit the site and have received information from the council so they understand the costs and community-focused requirements of taking it on.
The council will scrutinise potential operators’ business plans to ensure they can provide stable management for the benefit of the local community. It is expected that a decision will be taken in the coming months to appoint a new operator, based on these assessments.
For more information about the EOI process, please visit our website: https://www.southglos.gov.uk/business/property-for-sale-or-rent or email TheBatchEOI@southglos.gov.uk