Future Uses of Harrold Centre
With no other venue in the village with the capacity to deliver new services, there is potential for the Centre to fill particular gaps in provision and significantly increase income to ensure the longer term commercial viability of the Centre. Potential new services include:
- Medical services: the village GP surgery lacks space and has approached the Centre to hold flu clinics, baby weighings, meetings on local health issues, deliver talks and health education promotions.
“There are very few public places available for hire locally as they are all being used. We would like to see more exercise programmes for the less-than-fit and more social groups for the locally isolated. Carers also need a place to meet. There will be a lot of movement from hospital to local settings in the future for out-patients and I feel there is a huge opportunity for us to work together if suitable space at the Centre can be made available.” Frances Ross – Harrold GP
- Drop in café: In order to address local isolation and attract new visitors to the Centre, plans include an internet cafe with public internet access. Whilst the village has two public houses, a restaurant, a variety of shops and a cafe at the country park on the outskirts of the village, there is nowhere central for local people to go during the day for tea, coffee, light snacks and a chat. Manned by local volunteers the cafe will be open two or three times each week. Harrold has a higher than average number of older residents who will especially benefit from this service.
- Harrold Centre Historical Zone: A Learning Zone for all ages. The Centre holds a significant place in the history of the village. This facility will show photographs and give a narrative of the history of the building and the village, and its connections with the local leather trade. The zone will provide a modern, relaxed and comfortable learning environment.
- Private events: With its public licence, the newly refurbished and extended Centre will provide an accessible, attractive and suitably equipped space in which larger events such as wedding receptions and parties can be held.
- Emergency Flood Centre: With weather conditions in 2012 putting parts of the village of Harrold at imminent risk of flooding, Bedford Borough Council put their Flood Action Plan into place. Part of this involves the decision to use the Harrold Centre as an evacuation centre, and if the need arises, where services will be provided by the local WRVS.
- Local MP and Borough Councillor surgeries: In order for local people to have their voices heard and to be represented on important local and national issues, the constituent MP will hold an annual surgery and the Borough Councillor a quarterly surgery at the Centre.
- Potential new activities: New events that are currently being considered include art and craft fairs, jumble sales, antique fairs, talks and seminars, day care for the elderly, keep fit classes, martial arts classes, indoor bowls, ballroom dancing classes, and travelling drama productions.