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Flexible space use in your resource centre

The flexibile use of space is one of the secrets of success in designing and running a resource centre.

Ideally your community resource centre should be separated into at least two rooms or areas. This will cut down noise and offer some privacy to users, as well as helping with income generation and making it possible for two or more things to go on at one time.

Consider the following possible uses: few projects will be able to afford them all at the outset, but with a little imagination they can be designed in to a fairly small space.

A reception space

This should:

  • Be non threatening - encouraging people to come in rather than keeping them out
  • Offer a level of polite security at the entrance
  • Offer a face to face introduction to the centre
  • House a display of services, activites and - as soon as possible - achievements

A public access space

The public acces space should:

  • Have at least one hands-on terminal
  • Be light and comfortable
  • Be overseen if possible by a general helper or facilitator (reception?)
  • Be furnished and laid out to comply with Health and Safety rules
  • Possibly double with reception space

A training room or area

This should be separate from interruptions from other areas so it is to be be used for:

  • Training courses (community and/or commercial). Four terminals is a minimum if you aim to generat income
  • Community use (youth groups, clubs, after school childcare)
  • Hiring out to small businesses, colleges or schools

A meeting room

This can be used for:

  • Community, volunteer or staff meetings
  • Non-IT training
  • Clubs and Societies or small businesses to rent out

It may possibly be the same space as the training room. It should offer privacy from interruptions and noise.

An administration or "back room" space

This will be needed for:

  • Management and administration
  • Privacy in phone calls or one to one meetings
  • Messier activities and work in progress

A refreshments space

This could range from a drinks machine in the reception area, to a staff kitchen where tea and coffee can be made for visitors, to a proper catering kitchen complying with Health and Safety rules

Storage

You will always underestimate what you need!

Additional Office space

Consider space ranging from shared "hot desks", to very small offices and larger spaces such as workshops. It can be used:

  • For lettting out as serviced offices to new small businesses
  • For hosting parish office activities or community groups

As one of the easier ways to make ends meet - it doesn't take up significant staff time!