We aim to facilitate greater community cohesion by providing a range of services and activities promoting wider social integration and inclusion of our diverse communities. The facilities will include a bigger multi-functional space to include a youth club, health and lifestyle chances facilities and a state of the art building that can be used by external voluntary organisations and community groups. We also wish to create a large social space for external groups to use for social, cultural and sporting events.
Many of our beneficiaries are excluded and face discrimination and/or isolated due to their status, language barriers and cultural practices and therefore don’t participate and are inactive. This impacts on their whole health and wellbeing, physical and mental and lack of understanding of the benefits of sports and recreation. There are currently little health/sports related activities locally that specifically caters for BME and Muslim women, young and older and the elderly.
Anti-social behaviour is a serious problem in the area. Youth services have reduced significantly, leaving a serious gap in provision. Our youth club has 180 young people registered with an average of 40 young people per session. It is widely accepted that due to the territorial nature of young people, they exclude and isolate themselves from accessing such and prefer to stay within their own immediate neighbourhoods.
We have successfully engaged and encouraged our beneficiaries over time to attend the centre for the various activities we offer. Our youth club is over-subscribed but due to space and other activities are unable to offer every evening as it is needed. We are also limited to what we can do with the young people with current resources/equipment. This new facility will enable them to learn new sports, team games, compete with our local teams, and improve their overall fitness and wellbeing and more.
In the basement we want to create a multi-functional space with changing rooms, showers and toilet facilities plus a small catering area for people to use. This space will also be used for youth activities such as sport and health related activities for the whole community.
On the ground floor we want to create an open but interconnected space as a conference area that will be made available for our partner organisations to rent, other BME groups and youth clubs as well as being an area that can be used for weddings, social and cultural events.
On the upper floor there is enough head room to create a mezzanine to accommodate several educational spaces for the centre's educational support projects; After school clubs, A’ level and GCSE community languages classes as well as our Supplementary school, ESOL provision for women of all ages who cannot access external services because of their religious and cultural norms.
To comply fully with DDA policies we will create a space to accommodate a lift to all floors in the building.
Phase 1 of the project will focus on the expansion of the basement, new sanitary facilities and new improved access and circulation.
It is proposed to expand the basement by utilising the existing void, which will increase the usable floor area by a further 70 square meters. A new flexible partition will allow the large space to be divided and utilised for different activities. The proposal will involve the excavation and carting away of the filled void and underpinning of the existing walls
Improved Access to Basement
Currently the access to the youth club is via a 1m wide concrete stair-case located at the far end of the main reception. The exposed concrete stairs and the general area is poorly illuminated and is via a long and narrow corridor leading down to the basement. The users have to travel a long distance back to the main reception area to access the limited toilet facility. In an attempt to make the youth club more user friendly the design team have responded by creating a new stair case accessible immediately from the main reception area. This new stair is associated with the new lift access, the new point of vertical access in the building.
The redundant areas in the basement will accommodate additional toilet facilities at this level. The new lift pit is also located within the same area, therefore not taking away from the existing usable floor area. The design of the new entrance and ‘control point’ will allow the management to restrict the users from trespassing into other parts of the building. The existing concrete stairs will continue to provide an alternative fire escape route from the basement.
Wheelchair users & less able people are currently restricted to the ground floor. A new Platform lift will be accessible from the new entrance hall which will provide access on to the ground floor level and the basement/ lower ground games room.
A main building Lift is also proposed in Phase 2 which will provide access to all levels of the building. The lift enclosure will be erected during Phase 1 to avoid any disturbance to the completed works. Essentially the new entrance area will be the control point from which all other areas will be accessible. It will be possible to close parts of the building which are not in use thus allowing trouble-free management and security of the building.
The small administration offices/ people currently scattered at different parts of the building will be brought together improving interaction and the working environment during Phase 2 by the introduction of a small extension filling the existing entrance void. These works will not affect the completed works at Phase 1.
Two enclosed toilets are currently located immediately upon entry into the building. As well as the lack of provision the location of the existing toilets also causes concerns over the hygiene and the surrounding air quality. We have responded by introducing a new adequate sanitary facility which has been separated by a lobby. The sanitary facility remains in the same location to avoid unnecessary drainage cost. The drainage pipes running down into the basement will also allow the accommodation of additional toilets at that level.
Phase 2 will see the redevelopment of the ground floor into a modern main reception area that welcomes people into the centre with office and storage space as well as a multifunction events hall for large celebrations and smaller conferences, workshops and meetings. The area will also have new toilet facilities and a fully fitted kitchen to cater for events and can be hired by the community.
The first floor will become modern classrooms for our education centre with the development of a new mezzanine floor also consisting of classrooms. This will increase our classroom capacity from 5 to 16 fully furnished classroom spaces with smart boards and all necessary equipment. This floor will also contain office space and toilet facilities and a fire exit staircase from two sides of the area and lift access.
The centre is currently looking for donations to help with the refurbishment project, your support and generosity are greatly needed and appreciated. To make a donation please use any of the following ways:
Bank Transfer: Al-Ghazali Multicultural Centre HSBC SORT CODE: 40-29-08 ACCOUNT: 62685418