Background to the Phoenix ...
In 2005 the STARR Initiative after many months of meetings, questionnaires, fact finding and public consultation, found that two projects began to reveal themselves above the rest. We found that local people want a community centre and many feel an expansion of youth facilities in the Town is vital for the well being of young people.
The STARR Steering Group looked at a range of sites and options and during the process they investigated the opportunity to work in partnership with the then Sandwich Youth Club Committee to develop the facilities needed by the community on the Youth Club site in Jubilee Road, Sandwich. The Centre, a Registered Charity, was struggling to survive, dilapidated and run down as a result of years of neglect and lack support from local government or other bodies; the potential was clearly there. As a venue the Centre was already in use attempting, in difficult circumstances, to provide the facilities that the community was demanding. There now appeared to be an opportunity to put the Centre back on track, deliver a major STARR Initiative Project, create a high quality venue in Sandwich South and develop a fabulous facility to benefit of local people.
The Trustees of the Centre spent months talking with the STARR Initiative and Kent Rural Towns about potential funding for the project and things looked promising. So at this early stage we started a process of consultation and investigation of best practice and marketing. This early research revealed a range of issues, the building should not look like a pile of 1960's bricks, more use should be made of the grounds and car parking needed to be expanded. We also engaged with user groups, including the young people at the Centre and began looking at successful Centre's. The result was that we found we needed new multi use spaces, the Centre needed to be brighter, friendlier and to fill the gaps in local venue provision and it became clear that we needed to give young people their own building; their own dedicated Youth Space. But further to this a very strong message was being given to us; it became clear that we needed to go one step further, the young people and other users felt that the building should be ‘green’ that it should sit well in the environment, be built with the environment in mind and set an example for other communities.