Fitzrovia Community Centre in Foley Street will celebrate its tenth anniversary this month and has given itself a birthday makeover by putting the word “community” back into its official name, as well as giving itself a new logo and website.
“We have rebranded back to our original name, Fitzrovia Community Centre, to weave the community back into the very fabric of the Centre,” wrote Donna Yay, centre director, to subscribers of its newsletter in May.
The community centre first opened in June 2012 but three years later the word “community” was dropped from its name after the staff and trustees, rather bizarrely, had decided that the word had negative connotations and that the centre would be more successful without it.
Confusingly, despite the change of name, the large sign stating Fitzrovia Community Centre remained over the entrance and its legal name also remained unchanged.
However, the current staff and trustees say that community is at the heart of the organisation and it therefore should be at the heart of its name.
“The centre was closed for a year during the pandemic and the trustees took the opportunity to review the charity’s position and its role in the Fitzrovia community,” says Yay.
“The pandemic and its various lockdowns had shone a spotlight on the value of community and it was felt that the name Fitzrovia Centre had given us a corporate feel which no longer represented the organisation we wanted to be.
“We came to a unanimous decision that by literally putting the word ‘community’ back into our name, we could demonstrate to the world our primary purpose — that we are here for the people of Fitzrovia,” she said.
Aside from the change of name the Community Centre is changing the way it provides services for local people.
“We are now delivering more services directly rather than hiring to outside providers. That means that the majority of activities at the centre are offered either free or on a ‘pay what you can’ basis. We believe that everyone should be able to take part regardless of their personal circumstances. Our projects are developed through discussions with residents and delivered by local organisations, artists and instructors wherever possible. In fact, 84% of our staff and Trustees are local residents,” she said.
The Centre is also keen to welcome new trustees to steer the future of the organisation.
“We have a small trustee board currently, and with all the changes that are taking place, the charity could benefit from two additional members,” says Yay.
“We are looking for people who care about their community and want to give back by sharing their skills and experience. These might be business skills, or experience in the voluntary and community sector. We are particularly keen to engage someone who is using or has used our services in the past, and someone with a finance background. Obviously, local knowledge and connections is important!” she says.
To celebrate ten years since they first opened the Community Centre is holding a birthday event on Saturday 25 June.
“We’ll kick off with a kids’ carnival parade, followed by arts workshops and performances by local musicians and artists, and of course some fabulous food.
“We’ll also be showcasing the work of the creative women of Camden and Westminster in our very first art exhibition,” she said.
Ten years of Fitzrovia community Centre, from 12pm Saturday 25 June 2022.