The Florence Park Bowling Pavilion- a place of possibility
Flo’s The Place in the Park is a community enterprise group set up following a campaign to re-open the children’s centre in Florence Park after it was closed down in 2017. We opened in Autumn 2018 and now host a range of community businesses and services including the Isis community midwives, a Nature Nursery offering full time childcare, a free to use ‘community space’, the FLO cafe, a Refill Shop and lots of events for families and children. Flo’s has already become a place where people can meet, learn and connect to each other as well as to nature.
The former Florence Park bowling pavilion is located just behind Flo’s and owned by the Oxford City Council. It has been standing empty since January 2019.
The building has lots of potential. It has a beautiful setting, an active and vibrant community around it and four small separate spaces that could be used for a whole range of activities. As a community owned and run project, Flo’s would like to see the building being used for the benefit of local people. Starting in July, the City Council has granted Flo’s a license to occupy for six months, with Premier Tennis is operating the refreshment kiosk as a pop up, with a service level agreement.
Over the summer we want to find out what ideas and energy there are for this space so we can put a proposal to the City Council for longer term use. Whatever proposal we develop will need to be clear about community benefit and how it can sustain itself financially.
What is Flo’s involvement?
Flo’s has been given a temporary license to occupy the old bowling pavilion in Florence Park. We want to work with the City Council to develop the building for a community use and are looking for people, organisations or projects that want to work with Flo’s on this. Building on the work we have started with Flo’s-the Place in the Park our vision is to transform this building to provide the community with real social or environmental benefits and increase the use of and connection to the park. As with Flo’s overall, any community use would need to be to be a financially self-sustaining social enterprise
Who are we consulting?
We are keen to hear local people’s views on what kind of use they see as benefiting their neighborhood. We are also engaging partners who run other organisations in the area, as well as socially or environmentally minded entrepreneurs who have ideas for how to use the building
The community consultation:
- We are keen to find out what you think! Fill in this community poll about what you think the biggest needs are in your community and what kinds of activities you’d like to see happening here. for local people. This will provide a steer for the Flo’s team when we decide which proposal to take forward- it will feed into the selection criteria of the proposal Flo’s Trustees choose to take forwards.
Expression of Interest
We are asking partners, organisations and individuals for expressions of interest for how they envision this space being used. To do this, you need to submit your Expression of Interest using the online form or come into Flo’s for a paper copy.
Who can apply?
- Organisations/ individuals with an established social enterprise
- Organisations or individuals with a business idea they would like to start under Flo’s umbrella or as an associate/partner/ tenant of Flo’s
All expressions of interest must be submitted by the 15th of September 2019.
What are the next steps?
The Expressions of Interest will be considered by Flo’s staff and Flo’s Council in regard to the following criteria:
- The project must be socially or environmentally beneficial to the local community
- The proposal must include an outline business plan and the project must at least cover its own costs (it could be run as a project under Flo’s umbrella or as separate business with a service level agreement/sublease)
- The project must be aligned with Flo’s values which are: Connecting to nature & place- Inclusive – Learning for life – Playful & creative – Supporting families – Participatory – Ethical – Financially sustainable – Being a force for positive change
The trustees will also consider the outcome of the community poll in determining which issues are most important to the neighbourhood.
We will aim to get back to applicants by the end of September.
We will work with the successful applicant(s) to develop a robust shared business plan to put forward to the City Council by the end of October.