Cherry Lodge – a new community hub for Sneinton

Cherry Lodge on King Edward Park is set to open in the autumn as a brand new community hub for local people – thanks to the amazing efforts of 22 volunteers from Sneinton and a helping hand from The Renewal Trust!

Sneinton Tenants Outreach Programme (STOP TRA), a tenants and residents association run by volunteers who all live locally, have been running activities at King Edward Park and pavilion since 2011 and they’ve been campaigning to secure Cherry Lodge for the local community since 2013.

However, as a group of volunteers, rather than a fully constituted group, they weren’t eligible to take on the lease from Nottingham City Council when the building became vacant in 2017, and didn’t have the resources to run the building themselves.

We stepped in to help by negotiating with the council and taking on the lease to support STOP TRA. Because we already manage a range of community spaces in Sneinton and St Ann’s, including St Ann’s Allotments and Brendon Lawrence Sports Centre, we were able to reassure the council that the building would be well looked after and provide huge benefits to the local community, providing a community value worth more than simply renting the building out to a private tenant.

Nottingham City Homes has also stepped in to help renovate the building, by giving their apprentices the chance to give Cherry Lodge a makeover as part of their training – all ready for the building to open in the autumn.

What can you look forward to at Cherry Lodge?

Cherry Lodge will host a range of activities for local people thanks to STOP TRA, including art, photography, yoga, card-making and ‘grow it, cook it, eat it’ sessions for children and young people. It will also provide a base for community activities such as surgeries run by local MPs, councillors and the Police. The building will be available for community hire too, with all money raised going to support STOP TRA’s work in the area.

STOP TRA currently manage a community garden at King Edward Park and run sports and skateboarding sessions in partnership with EPIC and Skate Nottingham.

The group is also planning to work with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Stroke Unit, to provide people recovering from a stroke in Sneinton with local access to activities designed to aid their recovery. They’ve also been awarded government funding to make the site more accessible and are planning to install accessible toilets, polytunnels and a shed – so stroke recoverers can enjoy pottering outdoors and gardening in a relaxed, supportive environment close to home.

According to a 2018 report by Locality, more than 4,000 public buildings and spaces in England are being sold off every year, with the majority being sold to private developers by cash-strapped local authorities, so securing Cherry Lodge for the local community is a real success story for STOP TRA, The Renewal Trust and residents of Sneinton.