Community Interest Company Acts of Random Caring has been given a major boost after City of Wolverhampton Council agreed to release more land to the group - and increase its proposed long-term lease by ten years.
The company, formerly known as Gatis Gardeners, has been working under a short-term lease since 2015 to transform the Gatis Community Space in Whitmore Reans, on the site of what used to be Gatis Street Adventure Playground.
The new 35-year community asset transfer rent-free deal includes two additional parcels of adjoining land to be developed by the group for community use, as well as the original plot, community building and forest area.
The city council’s corporate landlord team continues to work closely with the company and has carried out building works in the last three months to ensure the property is handed over in a suitable condition for the company to take on responsibility for the maintenance and running costs.
Acts of Random Caring is run by volunteers and supported by a small management team, with the vision to make the centre and surrounding green spaces a safe-haven of tranquillity where people can come together, learn new skills and help make Wolverhampton a more sustainable city.
The longer lease term will assist the organisation when bidding for further grant funding to continue its transformation of the site.
Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, Councillor Jacqueline Sweetman, said:
“We have worked closely with the Acts of Random Caring leadership team to enable this community asset transfer to take place.
“It is an excellent example of a community-led organisation developing a surplus council asset and retaining it for use within the community.
“The full business case they have put forward means the long-term future of this community enterprise is secure and will provide an invaluable contribution to the local area.
“I am looking forward to seeing the centre build on its popularity over the coming years.”
The group runs regular activities and workshops covering subjects from nature, art, crafts and permaculture to pay as you feel yoga and a surplus food market. As well as a comprehensive volunteering programme it also hosts a wide variety of community events from family fun days to its annual lantern parade.
It places a strong emphasis on encouraging the community to get involved and help shape the future of the site with an ethos that if you have a good idea and the determination to try and make it happen, they will give as much support, guidance and information to make it a reality as they are able.
Acts of Random Caring Director, Maria Billington, added:
“We are delighted that the council has been able to approve the additional requests on the transfer especially during these difficult times.
“The team has gone from strength to strength over the past five years and the additional space and increase in lease length will allow us to develop our ideas and work with a wider range of funders to enable us to support our community.
“Our aim is to provide a safe and inclusive centre that puts community at the heart of its diverse projects. Empowering people to be a better version of themselves. Enabling change to a sustainable future.” T
o find out more about Gatis Community Space and get involved visit: http://gatiscommunityspace.co.uk/