The Kingsclere Community Association (KCA) is a charity that runs the community centre facility, the Fieldgate Centre. Our objective is to promote social welfare for recreation and leisure-time occupation, improving the well-being of all who live in Kingsclere and the surrounding area. The centre is run by volunteers, not by the council, and we rely on the support of many people to ensure we all can make the most of this fantastic community asset.
The last year has seen a great range of activities take place at the Fieldgate Centre and the number of people visiting continues to grow. In the year to March 2020 over 43,000 visited as a result of increased use by regular hirers who run classes, one-off hires for events and parties, and a series of annual events put on by the KCA, often in collaboration with other groups. The centre is the home of local sports clubs: rugby, football and cricket, who use the centre for training and matches and for socialising with teams and spectators. Our current programme of regular activities is well attended and we look forward to welcoming the return of many more regular visitors when restrictions are lifted and it is safe for us to gather together.
Summer holiday 2019 saw a series of free activity play days for families, including the National Play Day event in August. During the autumn the community centre was a hive of activity preparing and rehearsing for shows: Kingsclere Players staged four incredible performances of ‘Aladdin – The Panto’; Scratch Built Productions engaged the children with an interactive puppetry adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’; and the Kingsclere Singers led their popular ‘Yule Sing’. All of these fantastic community events filled the centre to the brim with festive spirit. Further rave reviews were received for the Valentine’s Day Murder Mystery Dinner performed by the Kingsclere Players and run jointly by the Friends of St Mary’s and KCA. The start of 2020 saw the Greener Kingsclere team set up the bi-monthly Sustainable Living Market.
KCA is responsible for generating all of the revenue to keep the centre running as it receives no funding from the council or other bodies to do this. Our hirers are really important to us because, along with the events we run, this makes up over 80% of our operating income. Income from the bar makes up the remainder. The trustees of the KCA have taken steps to ensure the association stays solvent for as long as possible during the Covid-19 restrictions, but like many similar community organisations we will be going into uncharted financial territory where it may be very difficult to generate the level of income we have been able to over the past couple of years. Our core activity is social gathering so we will be seeing how we can achieve this whilst complying with the guidelines to keep us all safe.
Replacing the ageing infrastructure is a key activity for the association to ensure that we have a functioning community centre for many years to come. Work to upgrade the heating system is almost complete and we hope to be able follow this with an upgrade of the electrical system. Part of the work is being funded by a Local Infrastructure Fund grant from Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council (B&DBC) and a Community Building fund grant from Hampshire County Council.
To fund further work we have a £100,000 matched funding grant by the Greenham Trust and the challenge we have is to raise the matched funding to allow this grant to be made available to us. We have made a further LIF grant application, run our own events to raise funds to go towards the matched funding and were fortunate to be awarded a grant by the Garfield Weston Foundation. During the year the KCA was awarded a fellowship from the Power to Change/School of Social Entrepreneurs which included a Community Business Trade Up grant. Financial assistance from grant providers is vital as the expense of upgrading the centre is well beyond what we currently raise through operating revenue.
We were delighted that B&DBC undertook the roof replacement project in 2019/2020. Now we have a new gleaming, well insulated roof that will help reduce our heating bills. We would like to thank all our users for putting up with the disruption during the project.
KCA actively works together with the sports clubs and the council to continually enhance the sporting facilities. Although the playing fields are owned and run by B&DBC the KCA has been managing the upgrade of the outside sports facilities. The first upgrade, the installation of an all-weather artificial turf surface in the Multi-Use Games Area has been a great success. A detailed specification has been prepared and prices obtained to drain the sports pitches. We are now seeking the final funding needed to allow the drainage project to proceed.
We wholeheartedly thank all who provide their time to do so many different things for the Kingsclere Community Association, including managing day to day activities, running events, raising grants, decorating, repairing and refurbishing. We could not operate without the support of the community and we would be really pleased to welcome anyone who would like to help.