Recently, I was very kindly asked to be a Patron of the Chelmsford Ideas Hub. It is a fascinating organisation based in the High Chelmer Shopping Centre.
In 2010, the RSA (Royal Society of Arts), in partnership with the Academy of Urbanism London, Essex County Council, Chelmsford Borough Council, and the Chelmsford Civic Society, formed an organisation (CIC): “Changing Chelmsford”.
The overall objective of Changing Chelmsford was to achieve community engagement, as this was seen as an area which needed to be improved.
Diverse sectors of the community were invited to take part in a series of events, forums and workshops to collaborate in shaping the future of community engagement in Chelmsford. 109 ideas were born, including: Cultural town; Tech town, etc, plus a series of specific initiatives including “Transition Chelmsford”.
In 2010, Changing Chelmsford focused on the rehabilitation of four historic buildings in a state of bad repair: The Anne Knight Building; The Marconi building on Marconi Road; The Marconi building in Hall Street; and Shire Hall.
In 2011, the work of Changing Chelmsford became part of the improvement initiatives to support the application for “City” status for Chelmsford.
In 2012, Anglia Ruskin University joined Changing Chelmsford, as part of an initiative to open the group to the wider community, and a grass roots “Ideas Festival” was also born.
Mick McDonagh from High Chelmer Shopping Centre offered one of the shopping centre’s empty units as a working space for organising the Ideas Festival and as a venue to run events during the Ideas Festival.
This is how “The Ideas Hub Chelmsford” came to be born.
The Ideas Hub Chelmsford was approved as a registered charity in November 2015, and as well as still providing a venue for events for the Ideas Festival (now in its 4th year), it offers a friendly space six days a week all year-round to the community of Chelmsford and continue to build out the activities to shape of the future of community support and engagement Chelmsford from its grass roots.
The official objectives of the charity are the advancement for education and the provision of a community space in the City of Chelmsford.
I am delighted to have become involved with this excellent local organisation and if you would like more information about the Ideas Hub Chelmsford, you can visit their website at http://www.ideashubchelmsford.org/.