Eastmoor Community Project was founded on the Eastmoor housing estate, which lies in the Wakefield East ward, in 1995-6. There is a diverse community living on Eastmoor mainly made up of people with British, South Asian and Eastern European heritages.
Initially, Eastmoor Community Project was a small sub-group of the church, established as a response to the need for the provision of activities in the local area for youths. We later raised funds to appoint a community development worker in the area and a formal steering group of volunteers was formed to line manage this post. At this time we were operating from a small room at Heath View Community School, but as we began to develop into a more formally structured organisation, and more people became involved, it was apparent that the group had expanded beyond the capacity of the premises.
As an organisation we focused on developing community groups and strengthening existing ones. We continued to identify community needs, expanding as additional funding was received to carry out subsequent projects.
The group gained significant local support, and as the number of volunteers and project work increased, representatives of local agencies were invited to become involved, form part of the management team, and generally support us in our role as community founders of the organisation. Agencies included local schools, health workers, and the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.
In 1999, we were once again confronted with the need for larger premises to be able to facilitate our activities. After consultation it was decided that a rebuild of the St Swithun's church into a community centre would be the most appropriate step forward for the needs of the community. This would accommodate the church and Eastmoor Community Project and be available for all community groups and residents to access.
In 2000 Eastmoor Community Project became a company limited by guarantee. Funding for the rebuild became available in 2001 and the St Swithun's community centre was officially opened in September 2003. We now permanently operate from these premises.
Organisational Structure and Management
Eastmoor Community Project is a Company limited by guarantee. The management committee is made up of 12 members, including local community members. All members have extensive local knowledge and involvement in the community and voluntary sector, and all have experience of being on other committees with positions of responsibility. The founder of the Eastmoor Community group continues to be a member of the management board.
The management board is a diverse group who together have the particular expertise needed for a management team. Importantly, all members have the interests of the community as a priority. All decisions are made locally and all finances are controlled locally. Decisions are made as matters arise, the management board are keen to listen to the local community needs and respond accordingly, making decisions with community interests in mind.
The project operates from St Swithun's Community Centre in the Eastmoor area of Wakefield and has 11 paid staff and a group of dedicated volunteers.