Five Years of Beaulieu: In Conversation With…Beaulieu Community Centre
In celebration of Beaulieu’s fifth anniversary this year, Countryside spoke with Ruth Gibson, centre manager for Beaulieu Community Centre, on her work and what makes Beaulieu an exceptional community to live in.
How long have you been working at Beaulieu’s community centre?
I’ve been steering Beaulieu Community Centre for nearly a year as Centre Manager. There was no manager prior to me beginning my position so I’m really pleased that I get the opportunity to put my stamp on things and really let my personality shine through my work with the community. I’ve just managed to get the foyer redecorated and it looks so vibrant and welcoming for when residents and locals visit us. We are a small team of three at the moment but we build on each other’s strengths and together create a great team dynamic.
What drives you to continue working for the people who live and work at the development?
I love coming to work and getting to know the regulars; many of which drop by to attend a class and use the spaces within the centre. I meet many families and people of all ages and backgrounds throughout the week. The centre is a place for the community to come together to better their lifestyles – whether through fitness, meeting other parents or learning a new skill. As a manager of the centre that facilitates this, there is no greater reward than seeing people make positive changes.
Is there a strong sense of community at Beaulieu? In what ways is it unique?
I really believe that Beaulieu has one of the best communities of all the places I have lived or worked in. I absolutely love working here. The development is innovative in its approach to design and integrating homes with the various local shops, schools and community spaces. It’s especially rewarding to see the community come together for our special events, such as our craft ‘mini-markets’ or seasonal Christmas carols. Recently I also co-curated a lockdown art exhibition with trustee Reverend Dan Pierce. It featured creations by residents during the past few months when people have unlocked many of their own hidden talents. It really showed that although we have all been physically apart, the community is still as together as ever.
What are you and your team most looking forward to in 2021? Have you got any plans or goals that you’re working towards?
After being closed for the best part of 2020, we are really hoping to get back to full capacity in 2021 and to start taking party bookings again for the community. We have introduced many new safety measures and we are gradually seeing our partners returning to the centre to deliver classes and sessions. Our timetable is being updated with lots of new additions as we look forward, including children’s art classes. We hope that even more new classes will start in 2021 and that we’re able to organise community events and initiatives such as an indoor cinema and a community café. Another key objective of ours is to improve the building itself as we want to continually reinvest in the maintenance of the centre in order to keep it an attractive and functional space for the community.
Right now, we are really happy to be back open having been closed for over five months. Come along and say hello to us if you’re passing and have a look on our website for our current class timetable: https://beaulieucommunitycentre.org/.