Bath Place Community Venture logo and name

Sketch of the Old Bath Place siteAbout us

Timeline Background of BPCV                          

1973/4 - All Saints closed as a school and children transferred to other schools (Clapham Terrace and Shrubland Street, and the Myton Road schools for the older children)

From 1974 the building emerged as a community enterprise offering informal service-provision centred on play. This soon developed into formal contracts with WCC to deliver alternative educational provision in an out-of-school environment. Expertise came from specialist staff who developed a pupil-led approach. Bath Place Community Venture hosted a range of support services for minority groups and individuals, including language support and legal and housing advice, some of which developed through the involvement of Warwick University staff and students resident in Leamington

By March 2009, after 35 years of successful operation, with an annual income of £330,000 the Venture operated five Programme Areas: Nutrition; Early Years Development; Youth Work; Meeting Space; and Learning Opportunities.  Producing 60 low cost, nutritional meals a day, the Veggie Table Café was not only meeting a community need for affordable healthy meals, it was also providing a sustainable source of income for the Venture; still largely reliant on voluntary donations or government funding.  During that year, 66 youth volunteers (age 16-24), plus 30 adults supported projects ranging from a nursery providing low cost places for 25 2 – 5 year olds, to a Christmas lunch for local homeless people.

On 24th September 2009 a devastating fire destroyed Bath Place’s building rendering it homeless.  It is remarkable testimony to the depth and breadth of the support for the project that the community immediately rallied to support the Venture, with a local school offering space to run the nursery, the District Council offered free use of a newly converted Creative archway space to house Bath Place staff and allow time to regroup and plan.

On November 2009 Warwickshire College handed over the keys to the Old Library to Bath Place. This was the start of an intensive period of refurbishment and renewal for a landmark building in the town that had lain dormant for 5 years. Over the next 9 weeks a massive community effort comprising 5393 volunteer hours succeeded in transforming the Old Library into a welcoming and functional community asset. Among those who gave their time and skill to this project were many Warwick University students, young offenders and the Board of Directors of Severn Trent Water and the local MP Chris White, the recent successful promoter of a Private Members Bill on Social Value.  The great strength of this network of partner organisations and committed individuals was shown by this effort.

On February 8 2011 Chris White MP for Warwick and Leamington gave a speech in the House of Commons regarding The Big Society:

‘Communities need assets and locations if they are to do
their good work, and we need to ensure that they are maintained.
In my constituency, assets such as the Bath Place
Community Venture could become the catalyst for a range of
social action projects. We need to recognise their importance
and use local community spaces as effectively as possible,
empowering local people, not hindering them with
unnecessary red tape or through lack of assistance.’

In 2011, nearly a year on from the opening of ‘Bath Place at the Old Library’ on January 4th 2010, and back up to full operation, it had hosted 7 wedding parties, 5 birthday parties, 1 baptism and 1 ‘celebration of life’ along with 10 music events, 18 major conferences and the UK Othello championships. Between Mar’09 and Mar’10 404 young people (16-24) volunteered their time and talents to develop facilities and opportunities at Bath place. The Venture is on the brink of seeing its plans to move from an organisation reliant on grant funding to a self sustainable social enterprise come to fruition.

September 14 2012, after a huge campaign to save the Old Library from development into luxury flats with over 2000 signatures on a petition and over 300 objections to the planning application (including those from English Heritage and The Victorian Society) the keys are handed back to Warwickshire College and the building is sold to developers.

Local MP Chris White, in an article declaring an objection to the plans for the Old Library in the Leamington Courier describes Bath Place as in ‘the DNA of Leamington Spa’.

In late September 2012 after a kind invitation, BPCV move into The Band Factory on Althorpe Street where it continues to run on a very limited service due to the lack of accessibility and prime time availability of the space. On December 21, 2012 BPCV learns that it’s previous home has been declared surplus by it owners Warwickshire County Council and is informed the site will be put up for sale at a market rate at some time in the near future.

In February 2013 BPCV officially nominates the All Saints site as an Asset of Community Value under the recent legislation of the Localism Act 2011. Working in close consultation with Community Matters, Locality and the Asset Transfer Unit BPCV has received invaluable support in preparing to apply for feasibility funding from the Social Investment Business towards the design and costing of a new purpose built facility which would open the possibility of Capital Grants to fund a rebuild.