26 November 2018

Co-op Foundation funding will help bring the building back into community use The second phase of building work at the Old School, in Old Wolverton, has well and truly begun, thanks to part-funding from the Co-op Foundation.

The Old School is a Grade Two-listed building located in the heart of the community of Old Wolverton.

Over the past five years, Future Wolverton, a community benefit society aiming to establish Wolverton as a thriving and sustainable town, has raised more than £800,000 to purchase and refurbish the Old School with the dream to bring it back into community and education use.

£80,000 of this has come from Co-op’s charity, the Co-op Foundation, which provides interest-free loans and grants to organisations looking to grow sustainably-funded community spaces across the UK.

It has awarded a £30,000 grant and £50,000 interest-free loan.

It is hoped that renovation of the Old School will provide a focal point for the Old Wolverton community, giving long-established residents a place to meet up and socialise, and new residents somewhere to find out about the area and take part in community activities.

The project will also preserve the heritage of the area, telling the story of Old Wolverton’s agricultural past, and preserving an important listed building for the whole community to enjoy.

Once redevelopment has taken place, The Old School will contain:

● Community space for hire
● Three-bedroomed guest house
● Community café

Marie Osborne, Director of Future Wolverton, said:

“Funding from Co-op Foundation has enabled us to start work on the Community Centre side of the Old School building, following work to the Guest House during the spring and summer. Re-opening the community hall is a crucial outcome for the local community who have been without a local community facility for more than 10 years. It will enable Future Wolverton to generate lettings income which will help support the overall sustainability of the organisation.”

Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Spaces for people to come together and enjoy shared interests are essential for building connections and boosting community cohesion. Redevelopment works at the Old School, in Old Wolverton, will support this by providing a much-needed community space that is more sustainable and financially self-sufficient. Co-op Foundation is delighted to be a part of Old Wolverton’s exciting future.”

In addition to building works, Future Wolverton has also established a strategic partnership with Slated Row School, a community special school for children and young people aged four to 19-years-old. The school caters for 182 pupils with moderate to complex special educational needs.

The school will provide sponsorship to assist with the refurbishment of the Old School and will provide vital people resources to the running of the facilities in the building through work experience projects for its sixth form.

Every aspect of the way the building operates – from the cleaning to landscape maintenance – will be supported by the students. This will enable the children and young people from Slated Row to gain invaluable work experience, which we hope will enable them to secure paid employment when they leave school.

The building is Future Wolverton’s first asset and will generate an ongoing income, enabling the organisation to become financially self-sufficient.

For more information on Future Wolverton visit: http://futurewolverton.org/
Anyone who runs a community organisation and thinks they may be eligible for funding from the Co-op Foundation should email foundation@coop.co.uk. Alternatively, find out more at www.coopfoundation.org.uk


Notes to Editors

About Future Wolverton
● Future Wolverton is a membership-based Community Benefit Society with a mission to establish Wolverton as a thriving and sustainable town within the city of Milton Keynes.
● As a Community Benefit Society, Future Wolverton is owned and run by its members, who are people who live and work in Wolverton or the surrounding area and who support the objects of the Society.
● There are currently over 200 members of Future Wolverton, and each member has a £1 nominal share in the business.
● The Old School is Future Wolverton’s first asset and will generate an ongoing income, enabling the organisation to become financially self-sufficient.

About the Co-op Foundation
● Co-op Foundation is the Co-op’s charity, set up to help communities UK-wide work together to make things better.
● It is the leading funder of projects tackling youth loneliness in the UK. Its ‘Belong’ programme aims to connect and empower at least 5,000 young people while also strengthening youth services and tackling stigma associated with loneliness.
● The Foundation also provides interest-free loans and grants to eligible organisations looking to grow sustainably-funded community spaces.
● Co-op Foundation is a working name of Co-operative Community Investment Foundation, a charity registered in England and Wales (1093028) and Scotland (SC048102).