The Bridge Community Hub

Year | 2019

Location | The Bridge Community Hub, Kirklees, UK

Clients | Lawrence Dodd, The Bridge Community Hub

The Bridge Community Hub initially approached Live Projects to examine how green spaces could be used for better youth provision. A reduction in services, partly related to austerity, was beginning to cause a problem with a nationwide trend emerging. The rural community, situated around Denby Dale, suffers from a lack of connections and collaboration, but has an amazing array of groups in the area. The brief called for something more than a park. So we set about uncovering them!

Re-defining the brief was a collaborative process between SSoA and The Bridge Community Hub. The Hub initially approached the school with a brief that was broad in its scope and definition; encompassing 16 villages with a population of over 30,000. The breadth of the initial brief, although challenging, highlighted the ambition and drive of The Bridge Community Hub; to make a meaningful impact on the whole region, through this Live Project and beyond. Despite no single site, nor a specific desired outcome, there was one key theme The Bridge Community Hub knew this process had to address: to improve the lives of young people and their engagement with the local communities they are a part of.

Through a series of collaborative round table discussions, workshops with members of the public and desktop research; the design team were able to identify several key themes that the brief needed to focus on which would give the project a clear direction; disconnection, communication and engagement. These were continuously appearing as issues in the area and through targeting them, we developed methods for the many communities to better communicate and connect with each other. The project became a process, with five distinct steps.

A: RESEARCH

All communities are different and to prevent assumptions and misinformation shaping a project, a range of research methods were used to examine the true nature of the community and its issues. 

B: REVEALING

This stage is about uncovering the groups, assets and organisations which already exist within the community. This section highlights various methods of ‘revealing’ and their benefits.

C: CELEBRATE

Stage C focuses on celebrating the existing groups and how to better promote and communicate them to the wider community. It’s primary aim is to highlight what already exists rather than providing another new group.

D: CONNECT

Co-production can be a powerful tool to connect different groups of society when longevity and repeatability is at its centre. It can result in many different outcomes, but at its core co-production is about learning from one another to achieve a common goal – and in this context that is bringing people of all ages in the community together.

E: EVOLVE

This section demonstrates how these previous stages can be repeated; ensuring the longevity of the project. The processes detailed in this pocket book are designed to be self-sustaining and never reliant on one particular group.

This process resulted in three outputs that targeted different parts of the communities. We developed a pocketbook, which recorded our reflections and learnings from the process, that could be used to recreate and push co-production. It is a practical guide for the community hub highlighting our methods of collaboration and co-production. It is a model to be repeated. We produced a design for a noticeboard, inspired by engagements with children at a local youth event. We then built and decorated it with a wood workshop group at a local primary school. Finally, a website, which acts as the online database, planned for longevity, to document all the information that we discovered over the six weeks, and to be owned and run by the community.

https://www.thebridgecommunityhub.co.uk

  • Credits.

    School of Architecture.
    Harry Bruce
    Katherine Dauncey
    Ashley Dunford
    Olivia Hellman
    Samuel Myatt
    Chia-hsuan Chang
    Ran Duan
    Michael Neal
    Dovydas Simkus
    Ryan Smith
    Mira Raffoul
    Henggang Wang
    Jing Wang
    Xuhui Wang
  • Coordination.
    Howard Evans