The Stevenson Centre
“This project has been an excellent example of teamwork and collaborative working. It has been very well managed by the client, the contractor and the consultant.” – Tony Bavington, Chair of Policy and Resources Committee, Great Cornard Parish Council
The Stevenson Centre was in desperate need of refurbishment to bring it up to modern standards. The client wanted us to create a vibrant community hub which the community of Great Cornard would be proud of. The principle aims of building this fit for purpose amenity were to strengthen community cohesion, encourage the development of community services and support the health and wellbeing of the local community.
In May 2015 the Parish Council (with our support) submitted and received a planning permission to extend and improve the centre, however, there was insufficient funding to proceed with the scheme. In 2017 we were asked to pick up the project again to investigate funding sources, progress the design and proceed to tender to enable firm costings to be established.
Our team were asked to project manage the delivery of this project. This included the management of the consultancy team and all stages of the project (from inception to completion). We carried out significant research, including user surveys and investigation into funding streams, with the Centre Manager. We also assisted with the funding bids and successfully secured grant funding which resulted in the client being able to expand the extent of the works. Funding for the project was provided by the earmarked funds put aside by the Parish Council, a Public Works Loan Board loan and grant contributions from the Great Cornard Town Land Charity, The National Lottery- Big Lottery Fund, Babergh District Council Grant Aid – Community Projects and Lord Belstead Trust. These generous grants allowed this key community hub to become a great facility for use by the growing Great Cornard population.
Throughout the project we worked with the Parish Council Steering Group to tailor the design to their needs and to meet the budget available. The completed design package was sent to tender via the Suffolk Construction Framework and five tenders were received. Having evaluated the tenders, we provided a Tender Analysis Report. This report identified potential value engineering to the works to match the funding available. Working with the steering group, a list of priorities was identified which allowed works to be added back into the contract if further funding became available. The contract was awarded to SEH French Construction Ltd and work commenced in April 2018.
Close collaboration with the Parish Council Steering Group enabled the centre to remain open throughout the duration of the construction works. The client was given accurate monthly progress and cost updates during the works which allowed them to make informed decisions and be fully involved in every step of the project. Essential to the success of the project was the close working relationship with the Centre Manager, the Project Manager and the Construction Manager on site.
The extension and refurbishment of The Stevenson Centre has created a fit for purpose community amenity which serves a population of over 10,000. The extension to the main building houses a large community room, kitchenette, two further meeting rooms, additional storage space and toilet facilities.
The project was delivered on time and to the budget. A wide variety of classes and community group sessions are held at the centre on a regular basis. These include stroke support, weight management, table tennis, art and craft. In the first six months after completion of works, there has been a substantial increase in the number and variety of organisations using the centre. This was the fundamental aim of the Parish Council at the start of the project.