As of this December, Members of Emsworth Community Association now own the freehold and buildings that make up Emsworth Community Centre in North Street, behind the Fire Station. Hampshire County Council have supported the move by transferring ownership from themselves to Emsworth Community Association for a nominal fee of one pound.
Mike Stott, Chairman of Emsworth Community Association, said; “This is a landmark day for the people of Emsworth and for our Members. We now have full control over the future development of the Community Centre and will ensure it continues to flourish for many years to come. We are already one of the busiest Community Centres in Hampshire with one of the largest Membership base and it is wonderful to think that the Community Centre is run by local people for the benefit of the community of Emsworth and surrounding areas. This launches a new era for the Community Centre and for the people of Emsworth.”
Hampshire County Council offered the transfer, as part of their commitment to the Localism Act, to ensure that local people become more active in the development of their local community. This proposal was put to Members of Emsworth Community Association back in January at an Extra Ordinary Meeting, where it was given unanimous support. It also meant that the Association was given the permission from its members to change its charitable status from a non-incorporated to incorporated, which was essential for the ownership of the land and buildings. Emsworth Community Association were supported legally, by Sarah Humphrey of Belcher Frost, who ensured that all the legalities of the transfer were in place to ensure a smooth transfer.
Mike Stott went on to say; “The charitable status has been upgraded to reflect the latest charitable standards and provide a stronger base for the charity in the future. The Community Centre will continue to support the needs of its Members and users. In fact already this month we have refurbished the kitchen to bring it up to date and provide users with more work-surface and better storage facilities, just in time for all the Christmas parties and celebrations. We managed to complete the works with a generous donation from Emsworth Food Festival.”