So unfortunately our builder was ill yesterday, which was the day we were due to do the next step of serious renovation work at the centre. However, Paul and I pressed ahead with taking down one of the groundfloor walls and between us, we managed to get it down in a couple of days...
It won't be quite as big as this as we are going to build a small wall and place the Therapy Room at one end, however it will be big enough for the space to be used for classes, workshops, meetings and other community activities.
For us, having part of the centre available as a facility for community use is really important, not just from the income that it will bring to the centre but because of the variety of different people that will (hopefully) benefit from its use. But when we say 'community', what do we mean?
By being a 'community' yoga centre, which community are we referring to, who are we representing? The yoga centre is situated in a really interesting position in that it sits on the boundary between East and West Chesterton. West Chesterton is a very affluent area with just 4.5% of families being on low incomes. East Chesterton is one of the wards in Cambridge with the highest rate of child poverty, with 21% living on low incomes. Many years ago as a young Youth Worker, I did outreach work on the streets of East Chesterton, connecting with the children and young people of the area and supporting them to get involved in positive activities. To this day it still has a very different feel to that of West Chesterton. But within both of these areas there will be hundreds of different communities, and I want people from all of these diverse communities to feel that they can access activities at the centre, whether that be yoga and meditation, or groups that they themselves run from the Community Studio.
How we make this work in practice might be much harder. 20 years on and I can see some more outreach work coming on...
My daughter on Wednesday, doing a handstand at Jesus Green Lido.