Hi, I'm Tom Walters and I'm the Business Development Manager at the Charles Booth Centre (we're a charitable community centre in the heart of the national forest in rural North West Leicestershire).
Charles Booth, the man himself
On hearing Charles Booth's name, most people's first response is to ask, "who is/was he?" Well, Charles Booth was a true philanthropist, successful businessman and social reformer in the late 19th, early 20th century and it's not too big a leap to state that without his crucial work relating to working class wages, living conditions and death rates, we wouldn't have a state pension at all! In the early 20th Century, he made what was possibly the first bequest of a building and land to Thringstone and surrounding villages to be held on trust and for the benefit of the communities, Thringstone House. After 50 years of council dependency, the Charles Booth Centre became a fully-fledged independent Charitable Incorporated Organisation in late 2017. We are now a stand-alone, self-funding charity looking to serve our community.
Our Community Centre
We are incredibly fortunate to have this lovely, characterful and slightly dilapidated building to call our own.
What we want to change and why
With numerous rooms of various sizes downstairs and a beautiful big hall with stage upstairs, we really have almost everything we need to serve our communities. Almost. Our main function room, the Hall is upstairs. They are big old staircases making them difficult to tackle for the very young, the very old and the physically less able-bodied.
Concert in Upstairs main Hall with Swing Band Playing
The result is that our flagship space, where the village Pantomime, main events, weddings, parties and shows take place is not accessible to far too large a proportion of our Community.
This is something that we really need to change and this is where the people of Aviva and this incredible crowdfunding platform comes into play. By installing a simple mobility lift to the outside of our building, we can transform its use and crucially accessibility. The mobility lift will take a wheelchair user and carer directly to the Hall allowing every demographic from our community to enjoy what our Community Centre has to offer.
Outside of the main events that we hold at the Centre, we have a host of regular user groups who enjoy the Centre throughout the day and into the evening too. These groups include, but are not limited to:
- Royal British Legion (Whitwick Branch)
- U3A Committee, French, Spanish & Curling
- TADDAC – Thringstone and District Disabled Activity Club (they have lunch here twice a month)
- Art Group
- Film Club
- Quiz Night
- Open Mic
- Storm Dance Academy
- Bobbin Lace; and
- Dress Making who have been led by the indomitable Mary Holt for over 40 years!
- We are in between Pre Schools, but one will be joining shortly. We have had one here for over 35 years!
Whilst we have a real blend, many of groups or for older users and some have specifically written to support this application for a lift to enable them to better enjoy our facilities and events.
Distant side view of Charles Booth Centre from car park. Lift tower location will go by furthest left set of windows