Saturday, 16 March 2013

Putting the Community back into Barton Road Centre

Respektin' all the people

For the last 26 years, Barton Road has had a Youth and Community Centre.  However, when the sign on the building was changed to 'Barton Road Young People’s Centre' it left the 200 people (of all ages) who use the centre every week somewhat bemused.

The ladies at the Thursday Morning Coffee Group which was established at the centre in 1986, noting that the new sign was rather misleading and exclusive,  recently took matters into their own hands. Wanting to remind people that the centre is still open to the wider community, they took to the street and  added their very own, home-made ‘community’ sign (pictured).

Community Co-ordinator for the centre, Denise Nardone, said “Barton Road Centre has a thriving community.  There are groups using the centre every day of the week”.

Denise worked for Lancashire Youth and Community Service 10 years ago and recalls a lot of intergenerational work.  "When I worked on the Ridge”, she says, “there was funding to support community groups and this type of work between generations was encouraged. Several elderly people  became voluntary youth workers - each generation seems to have so much to learn from the other.  Now, people seem to forget the value of young people working with members of their community."

Barton Road Centre accommodates groups such as Art4Fun, U3A Table Tennis, Knitting and Sewing Drop Ins, Lancaster Family History Group, Babies and Toddlers and much more.  The centre has a lovely atmosphere with good facilities, including a computer suite, a large hall, meeting rooms as well as a comfortable and spacious reception room.

As the centre use increases with new events such as short computer courses and ‘Crafternoons’, there is still room for anyone interested in setting up a group or looking to join an existing group.

With Barton Road Centre going from strength to strength. Denise, with the support of the management committee which is made up of members of the community, is regularly introducing new courses and drop-in sessions to the centre.  The latest developments are ‘crafternoons’ (the clue is in the title!) and a computer course aiming to demystify that pesky technology.  “We wanted to design some short courses which do not focus on qualifications and learning objectives, but which really help people feel more confident with their everyday computer use – whether that be on-line banking, face-timing their relatives in Australia or understanding file management.”

To find out more about what’s on or sign up for a computer course, visit the Barton Road Youth and Community Centre website at or call Denise on 01524 65622.

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