Letchworth community hub development

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Space planning, interior design and fit-out of a Community Hub in Letchworth.


Attracting around 400 people each day.

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Following a corporate restructure, rebrand and physical office move, the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation needed to re-connect and re-engage with the Letchworth community.

Having moved to premises on an industrial estate on the edge of town, the Foundation had acquired a small, redundant retail unit in the town centre and were looking to transform this into a welcoming, accessible and valuable community hub in order that local residents could feel more connected and engaged with the principles, processes and work of the organisation.

There was a dual rationale for the community hub: to make Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation more visible and approachable, as well as change the perception of the organisation from one that preached and dictated to one that listened and consulted.

Having undertaken a detailed onsite inspection of the freshly gutted retail unit, we carefully planned the space and created a natural flow where visitors could follow an interesting, informative and engaging path. The design scheme was also carefully considered and involved a mix of materials and colours to create a more ‘crafty’ feel so that the space did not give the appearance of just another clinical, corporate organisation. 

On entrance, we created an area that promoted the corporate values and principles, the types of people, businesses and organisations they help and the six charitable commitments that drive the work of the Foundation. Next we installed an AV area that informed visitors of the latest news and developments in their town and adjacent was a space where residents could make their own suggestions for Letchworth’s future development.

Visitors were then subtly directed to the informal reception area designed in the shape of a question mark, where the receptionist stood in front rather than being ‘protected’ behind.

Finally, there was an informal seating area and secure children’s play area where visitors could discuss any issues or ideas amongst themselves, or with Foundation staff.

By taking visitors to the community hub on an information journey from the moment they set foot in the entrance, we were able to raise their understanding of the purpose and workings of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation and their objectives in terms of local planning and development, and protection, of the unique Letchworth community. The friendly and welcoming space has contributed in changing peoples’ perceptions of the Foundation as an organisation that is actively embedded within and listens to its community.

The hub has helped create a forum for more open discussions and consultations with the community before decisions are made and has helped reduce the amount of antagonism and volume of complaints that were historically made at more formal meetings, such as Local Authority Planning Meetings and the Foundation’s own Annual Public Meeting.

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Helped take the trust to the community, and bring the community in to the trust.

The interior design of the Community Hub created by Bonfire has broken down so many barriers. It’s a very tactile, honest and welcoming design scheme that naturally guides people through a wealth of information and creates numerous opportunities for them to contribute their ideas and suggestions. Their work has set a strong foundation for us to build on our more open, consultative approach for the benefit of everyone within Letchworth Garden City.

Marketing Manager, The Heritage Foundation
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