PRYDE of North Ayrshire
Pennyburn Regeneration and Youth Development Enterprise, in North Ayshire, combines both the physical and social sides of regeneration, building the capacity of its members to benefit the wider community.
Pennyburn Regeneration Youth Development Enterprise in the North Ayrshire town of Kilwinning aims to offset poverty and disadvantage through community-led regeneration. PRYDE caters for people of all ages, with ‘Youth’ referring to the recognition that young people are the future of their community.
The organisation was established in 2002 when an original community survey by Pennyburn Community Association indicated a need for a community hub to be established. The main issue that was identified was a lack of services in the area. PRYDE was formed to help meet this demand, guided by the principle that to have responsive and relevant services the community needs to be engaged.
Growth & Development
PRYDE has completed the development of The Playz, a former pub now transformed into a successful community hub. The Playz opened to the public in March 2012, the result of impressive partnership work with local agencies and ability to attract funding. The building now functions as a community hub, training centre and events venue, hosting everything from exercise classes to international wrestling.
Involvement of the community has been integral to the development of the building, and PRYDE has trained local residents in action research to establish community priorities and enable them to contribute to and have a stake in the design and use of the building. PRYDE’s Community Development Officers then respond to these aspirations.
For instance, they have helped young people to set up the Rock School where young people create music together and perform in front of their families, friends and the wider community.
Other activities developed with the young people include art, drama, fashion and design, radio and DJing, with facilitation normally provided by talented young people from the local area.
More recently, a further piece of action research has led to the demolition of run down local flats and the development of new houses in the area.
An added dimension to PRYDE’s social regeneration is what the organisation refers to as “eye opening visits”. This has been a feature of PRYDE since its early days. In the early 2000s, the group visited Londonderry, a place where community asset ownership was already flourishing, and where the social economy sector was delivering services. This visit shaped PRYDE’s organisational model and approach, and PRYDE has continued to visit other projects in Britain and overseas to learn and exchange ideas.
PRYDE is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. The organisation has a two tier Board structure, with a Board of Directors supported by a Shadow Board of local young people. The shadow board enables young people to be more than service beneficiaries, and to be engaged at all levels of decision making, including the design of The Playz. Young people receive training in all aspects of governance, which helps them to participate on an equal footing at Board meetings. Moreover, young people, such as the current Vice Chair, can progress to the Board of Directors which also consists of local community members, business people and politicians.
Board members and volunteers are trained in committee skills, financial management, business planning, detailing memorandums and articles, discussing roles and liabilities and employment law. Project Manager, Theresa Potter is a qualified community development practitioner and is also trained facilitator in the Pacific Institute. She delivers the institute’s training to volunteers, young people and every staff and Board member. Motivational and aspirational courses from the institute include STEPS to Excellence, PX2 and Investing in Excellence. These courses focus on personal affirmation – self-belief, culture and ideology – helping to build the skills and self-esteem of staff and volunteers, thereby strengthening the organisation and enhancing collective affirmation.
The centre is used by a large number of people in the community, young and old. During the recent Summer Programme, an average of 35 young people per night took part in classes and activities ranging from music workshops to drama rehearsals. In the same period, 78 families engaged in outings on a Friday such as visiting Seaworld and the funfair. In addition, 532 intergenerational participants celebrated a fun day to mark the demolition of flats as requested by the community in PRYDE’s action research with the community.
Furthermore, PRYDE has won a host of awards for its work including The Winner of the Community Led Regeneration Category at the 2012 SURF Awards. In 2011, the Shadow Board picked up the TPAS Scotland Best Practice Initiative Wider Action Award.
As a result of the ongoing monitoring and reviewing, new courses have been set up including specific learning resources for people with profound disabilities, and Early Birds programme for 0-3 year olds, and network support for young parents. Theresa describes a new phase of capital investment in the centre, including the installation of a glass partition and an e-library for community members. The aim is to enhance the appearance of the centre, creating a community hub with a “wow factor” that draws people in to services offsetting poverty, disadvantage and discrimination, and contributing to the long term health and wellbeing of the community.
Lessons and Learning
PRYDE strives to holistically combine both the physical and social sides of regeneration. This has been done by engaging the community through action research in PRYDE’s physical regeneration projects while, at the same time, continually building on the strengths of community members to give them more confidence and influence as a group.
On this note, PRYDE’s work is full of innovative and creative methods – within recognised mechanisms – to capture people’s imagination while developing their capacities. This is evident in the design and development of The Playz, which has various hi-tech facilities (e.g. movable stage, attractive lighting, carefully planned acoustics). Overall, the intention is to give people something they really want to be part of rather than a just a community centre they use once in a while. Winning people’s hearts and capturing their imaginations are crucial first steps to unlocking and building on community capacity.