The Hanwell Community Centre (HCC), built as the Cuckoo Schools in 1857 a home for over 1000 children, is situated at the top of Cuckoo Avenue, in the heart of the Big Local area. It is a very important community resource, an historical landmark, a Grade II listed building, and a much loved local heritage asset. It is owned and presently managed by Ealing Council.
Both building and surrounding Cuckoo Park, are registered as an Asset of Community Value by Ealing Council. The Community seized the opportunity to produce a business plan and compete to run Hanwell Community Centre to manage it when Ealing Council decided to start a bid and find an operator to run HCC when they stopped funding and managing it in April 2017.
Hanwell Big Local supported the coming together of a community led Steering Group in line with these objectives. This led to the birth of a new community led social enterprise: Hanwell Community Centre Consortium Ltd known as HCCC. HCCC was registered as a Company limited by Guarantee in October 2015 and is currently applying for Charity Registration.
The Hanwell Big Local Partnership are keen that the building continues to provide community benefits: that the potential of the building and the park are maximised, and that the future management and running of the building and the park will by local people and be responsive to local needs.
HCCC in 2017
Hanwell Community Centre Consortium responded to Ealing Council’s tender in 2016 to find a partner to take over the operation and management of Hanwell Community Centre (HCC) on 1st April 2017. As part of local Government cost savings, Ealing Council had looked at alternative ways of funding local community centres in the Borough.
However, during the bid process for Hanwell Community Centre (HCC) Ealing Council decided to retain the management of HCC for a few more years instead of appointing an external organisation.
Hanwell Community Centre Consortium Ltd (HCCC) was selected by Ealing Council as a “preferred partner” to assist Ealing Council with a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application. This will help to bring much needed improvements to Hanwell Community Centre facilities and securing its sustainability for future benefit to the community. HCCC are now working closely with the HLF project team at Ealing Council to develop the HLF application.
Hanwell Community Centre Consortium have been taking part in local events in 2016 and 2017 such as Hanwell Carnival, Brentford Festival and HCC Fun Day. This in the form of photographic displays promoting the history of the Cuckoo Schools with their “famous” pupil Charlie Chaplin, the many activities currently on offer at Hanwell Community Centre and the plans for its future improvements.
A survey of Hanwellians and surrounding communities has been started by HCCC at these events to bring together valuable information for the HLF application. A water colour painting of the Community centre by artist/HCCC director Agnieszka Arabska will be the prize to be claimed by the winner of a draw taking place later this year. On Sunday 3rd September HCCC will be exhibiting at Brentford Festival and on Saturday 9th September at the Deans Gardens Soundbite Festival in W13.
The valuable support from Hanwell Big Local during these past years has sustained HCCC’s commitment to realise their vision for Hanwell Community Centre as “A vibrant, inclusive, welcoming, sustainable, secular, community led enterprise at the beating heart of the community, meeting the needs of individuals, groups and local businesses in providing a safe space for recreation, arts and culture, education, healthy living and well-being, heritage, events, conferences and private functions for Hanwell and the Borough.”