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beormund community centre

Community centres and associations have become a common feature of many local neighbourhoods. In Britain their emergence is usually associated with the development of new housing estates following the First World War. Prior to this there had been various initiatives and movements - notably the development of village and church halls (especially in the early decades of the twentieth century). There had also been influential developments in the United States (especially in Rochester) and Mary Parker Follett, in particular, had made a power case for centres and associations. One of the first recognizable associations was formed in Dagenham (Pettits Farm Association) in 1929. By 1938 there were some 304, 33 of which were in Scotland (Mess and King 1947: 73)

The Beormund Community Centre was established in 1982 as a result of community activity. Local people came together to form an action team to lobby the Greater London Council to make funds available for the purchase and conversion of the building (which had been a tannery - Nathenial Lloyds). They were successful and Southwark Council became the managing agents for the centre. A Management Committee was formed and charitable and limited company status followed in 1986/7. It is now the largest community centre in Southwark. It currently houses a purpose-build nursery, a gym and fitness suite, a training area (where there are both NVQ 2 and recreational programmes) plus a large community room which is used by a range of local community groups and individuals. A number of the training programmes are concerned with gaining 'tools for the job' (the centre is a Job Centre Plus provider). Sure Start is also a major user of the facilities.

Reference: Mess, H. A. and King, H. (1947) 'Community centres and community associations' in H. A. Mess (ed.) Voluntary Social Services since 1918, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co.
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