Pinhoe community project overwhelmed by offers of support from volunteers

When a community project in Exeter asked for people's views and ideas for a new building they didn’t quite expect the overwhelming number of volunteers who came forward to help.

People behind plans to create a Community Hub in Pinhoe received 75 offers of help after sending out a survey asking for suggestions on what should be in the building and where it should be located.

“With all sorts of skills and new ideas it's very exciting to see this level of support and makes the new Community Hub even more within reach,” said Cllr Duncan Wood, who has backed the initiative right from start.

Last year the City Council agreed to give £100,000 to the project. The cash coming from the New Homes Bonus fund, money paid to councils by central government for creating and freeing up homes for people to live in.

The new Hub will see a range of community facilities created in Pinhoe.

The project began as an initiative to replace the 50-year-old Pinhoe Library building. However it soon expanded in its focus and scope to become a full community hub to include a library.

Recently the group behind the initiative sent out a survey to people in the community, asking where they would like to see the hub located. The vast majority of those who replied wanted it located in the corner of Station Road Playing Fields.

The field is owned by the City Council. Part of the plans would see new sports changing rooms to replace the current ones which are showing signs of age. Any plans would have to go through the usual planning process.

The survey also asked people to pick their preferred top five functions from a list of 12. The results were: Community Cafe 89%, services for older people 69%, youth facilities 65%, local meeting space 57% and a free to use cash point 44% (the local bank closed last year).

The group asked people in the survey if they would be willing to help out. Cllr Wood said they suggested a number of volunteering options. These include joining the management committee, helping with community events, admin and practical volunteering roles.

The response bowled the group over, with 75 people out of 395 in who responded to the survey offering to volunteer to help make things happen.

“There was a massive volume of ideas and issues that has come from the survey which we need to make sure is captured and taken into account,” said Cllr Wood, “its great to see the project is moving in the right direction.”