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Community Hubs

Community Hub web banner

Community Hub collageNew management arrangements

The council has refurbished and opened five Community Hubs. These are designed to be multi-purpose spaces that can be booked and used for a range of different community based activities, events and meetings. 

The five are

  • Christian Street Community Hub  30 Challoner Walk, E1 1QN

  • Raine’s House Community Hub
    Raine St, London E1W 3AU

  • Tramshed Community Hub
    Digby Street, E2 0LS

  • Granby Hall Community Hub
    37 St. Matthew Row, E2 6DT

  • Bow Community Hub
    Twelvetrees Crescent, E3 3PU

New arrangements

The council has making local connections in each of the hub areas with a view to re-launching all of the hubs under a new operational model in autumn 2021.

The buildings will be leased to experienced VCS or not-for-profit organisations, to manage the hubs with support from local stakeholder committees.

Details of this plan are set out in a report presented to Cabinet on 24 March.

The selection process for the managing organisations is now open and the council is inviting organisations to submit proposals for managing one or more of the community hubs.

Full details of each of the hubs, the proposed operating model and the lessee selection criteria can be found in the property particulars published on the property lettings page.

Proposals invited

Any organisation seeking to lease a hub will have demonstrate that it has the resources and experience to be able to run the building properly. Potential lessees must meet the following criteria:

  1. It is an incorporated not-for-profit organisation, such as a Community Interest Company (CIC), Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) or Registered Provider (RP), with at least 5 years’ experience of managing comparable community premises and spaces
  2. It's most recent accounts should indicate a healthy level of reserves and diversity of funding sources
  3.  It must have recognised relevant quality accreditation such as the Trusted Charity Mark.

User/Stakeholder Committees

Each hub will develop a user committee of residents and organisational representatives who will help set the values and principles for each specific hub and how it might be used.  

Lessees managing the hubs will be expected to support and to work with local user committees, listening and responding to feedback. Also involving hub users and local stakeholders in the ongoing management of the hub buildings.

Pre-submission information session

The council has arranged a session for prospective leaseholders to discuss the proposed community hubs and answer questions.

Viewing

Interested parties can view the community hubs by prior arrangement with the council’s Facilities Management Team. Please call 020 7364 4084/2546 to arrange an appointment.

Closing date for proposals

Proposals must be submitted to us by 12 noon on Monday 6 September. Proposals received after this date will not be considered.

Proposals must be submitted using the council’s online portal. Details are set out in the Information Pack appendix ‘Proposal Submission Process’. 

Contacts

Asset Management Team 020 7364 2925 asset.management@towerhamlets.gov.uk or VCS Team 020 7364 6916 david.freeman@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answer:

The council will only consider proposals from organisations that are set up not-for-profit.  This includes voluntary sector organisations, social enterprises (with appropriate asset lock in place) and registered social landlords.

Answer:

The council charges a ‘market’ rent for its premises which, for those in its community portfolio, is currently standardised to £14 per square foot.  CBRR is the council’s scheme for providing a rent subsidy to organisations leasing premises in the community portfolio that provide a wider community benefit through their use of the buildings.  The rate of subsidy is usually 80 per cent.

Full details can be found on the voluntary organisations page.  The leases for the community hubs will be eligible for CBRR and the lessee will be granted CBRR.

Answer:

The council decided initial period of the lease arrangements will be for 3-5 years. However, we may consider granting a longer lease where appropriate before the initial lease ends, particularly where the initial period has been successful, and where this may affect longer term funding arrangements and bids for capital funds.

Answer:

It will be up to leaseholders to determine the appropriate charges to set for each hub with an expectation by the council that the charges will be reasonable in all cases.   

Answer:

The agreement with leaseholders will include a mechanism for monitoring rates charged and it is expected that there will be differences between hubs in different areas reflecting local circumstances including the costs of other facilities.

Answer:

Hubs will not be leased to organisations just to deliver their core services or provide exclusive use. The assessment criteria set out in the information pack for the proposals submitted by prospective leaseholders focus on meeting local need, diverse user base, supporting smaller community groups and local community involvement. These will be built into the performance agreement. 

Answer:

An outcomes framework and performance agreement based on the proposals submitted will be linked to each lease. We anticipate this will be the basis of ongoing discussion and annual review to ensure the hubs are developing in line with the agreed proposals or, if there is any variation, this is done by mutual agreement. If there are significant concerns or that cannot be resolved the council reserves the right to terminate the lease.

Answer:

The property particulars for each of the hubs sets out the current or most recent usage and indicates whether there are any contractual arrangements or other expectations relating to existing use. Currently, there is a contractual commitment for the provision of youth services at Christian Street.

Granby Hall is expected to have a Somali focus.  Existing users are likely to be a significant benefit to the new Leaseholders, providing a basis on which to build a diverse user base, an initial income stream and, in many cases, solid local connection.  The council would not want to see established users displaced.

Answer:

Community stakeholders are drawn from the local area, for example with groups that run existing facilities or represent communities in other ways.

Community stakeholder identification is ongoing. It has been a difficult area to progress during the pandemic as priorities have been focussed elsewhere and potential stakeholders have had little time to engage effectively.

Answer:

The council is not able to provide details of potential bidders to others unless they specifically give consent. However, organisations are also free to form consortia in order to submit proposals if this is mutually beneficial and the lead organisation meets the criteria.

Tower Hamlets Homes (THH) is willing to engage with parties interested in running the hubs in areas where there is THH housing stock (all of the hubs except Bow).

Answer:

No decisions have been made about the outcome of the process. The council has advertised the opportunity widely through THCVS, Locality and Registered Providers of housing in the borough. All the information is on the council’s website.

Answer:

Granby Hall is intended to have a focus on activities for the Somali community but not exclusively. Other hubs may also provide activities focused on the Somali community appropriate to the local area.  

Answer:

They are the most recent available figures from (2019/2020). They should be treated as indicative and treated with some caution since various aspects have changed since the information was collected.

The building use has been affected by the pandemic. The cost of running the hubs may be lower for community organisations than they are for the council. For example, where business rates relief can be secured.

Answer:

These are the main cost figures collected by the council. The lease heads of terms set out the proposed division of responsibilities for premises costs. As the buildings have recently been improved, the costs of maintenance should be relatively low compared with buildings in poorer condition.

Answer:

For the proof of address, you will need to scan in the completed prospective tenant form after it is signed so you can simply scan the three proof of address documents in the same file.

Alternatively you can scan the three documents into one file and attach in one of the ‘spare’ upload slots on the portal.

For the accounts, there is a slot on the portal to upload your most recent accounts. You can provide the link to the relevant Charity Commission or Companies House pages for your previous two years’ accounts in the prospective tenant form.

Answer:

We will view any video links that are included in submissions. They can provide very powerful and compelling evidence.