Wantage will soon have a town centre community space in a refurbished shop unit â and local groups are being invited to put forward ideas about how it could be used.
Wantageâs town team have reached agreement with the landlords of Units 13 and 15 Mill Street (the old Chameleon Drinks shop and its neighbour) on a six-month lease for local group Sustainable Wantage. They will be making number 15 available for community groups and organisations to use, once itâs refurbished. Number 13 will be used for displaying local information. Theyâre now asking people to get in touch to suggest how they would make use of the space in number 15. Anyone with ideas or queries can email Mim Norvell via firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers of volunteer time or furnishings for the space are also very welcome.
The first community involvement sees a group of local tradesmen, including Simon Cooper of Scoop Electrical, Tim Collins of TCP Plastering and local painter Mikey King, donating time to refurbish the units so they are ready for use. Nick Ruck and Helen Harding from Falcon Signs volunteered to remove the old Chameleon Drinks hanging shop sign. Wantage charity champion Ray Collins and friends are also giving time to help the project along.
Mim, whoâs working with colleagues from Sustainable Wantage on the project, says: âSecuring permission from the landlords of these two units is a positive for the town in several ways. It contributes to the revival of Mill Street – adding to the momentum created by recent openings including BakeânâShake, Lil Hellers and the pop up shop, and work starting on the planned âbuzz cafeâ in the old Bartlettâs carpet store. It also acts on a recommendation from the Wantage public meeting to pilot a community shop for use by local people, and takes a step along the road to bringing two long empty units back into use, hopefully also helping other empty units in the street become more attractive to let.â
Jean Nunn-Price, a director of Sustainable Wantage, says: âThis project fits squarely within our vision of a thriving local economy and a sustainable community going forward. By inviting community groups to use this space we are firmly connecting with local people and providing them with a public showcase for their wares. Sustainable Wantage is itself a Community Benefit Society that exists for the benefit of the community by encouraging, promoting and facilitating sustainability in Wantage, Grove and the surrounding area.â
The initiative is the latest being developed by Wantageâs town team as part of a town vitality project being driven through the townâs Joint Economic Forum.