Introduction to FAQs

    Whilst the Community Hubs programme is best understood by reviewing the official documents and looking at each scheme as a whole, this set of Frequently Asked Questions provides a starting point for addressing the queries raised by local residents to date. Please let us know if any further information or updates are required.

    This updated FAQs document replaces the earlier updates so as to avoid confusion about multiple versions of FAQs. It organises questions into different sections combines questions where they overlap, and updates answers in relation to progress made.

    Further questions are welcomed, and FAQs will be updated in due course.

    What is a Community Hub?

    Hubs are physical buildings where neighbours can come together and use services such as libraries, GP surgeries and community spaces. They act as a central access point for a range of community, cultural health and council services, in one location. 

    Why are Community Hubs important?

    Community hubs offer easy access to services and resources that respond to the needs of communities. Each of the community hubs in Redbridge will be designed and delivered with residents, strengthening communities and reflecting local priorities.

    Why is the Council delivering the Community Hubs programme?

    The rationale for the Community Hubs programme is provided within the Council’s Cabinet report from November 2018. A desire to collaborate with communities and make services more accessible to residents, alongside a reduction in available resources, increases in demand and limitations of council-owned buildings (in terms of location, design and condition) means that we need a new approach. 

    Community hubs will provide space for community-led activities, move services closer to residents, and make best use of the Council’s limited resources. In order to achieve this, they need to be based in accessible locations across the borough, and in relation to each other. As such, the Community Hubs programme is a key vehicle for delivering on the administration’s manifesto commitments.

    Will residents be consulted on whether they want a Community Hub?

    Some of the services that we expect to be located within Community Hubs have statutory protection and will require some form of consultation with users, particularly where there might be a reduction in the service. However, the Council is not required to consult on strategic programmes or its overall model of service delivery and many other councils have shown how hubs can be an effective model for the protection and improvement of local services.

    What kind of services, organisations or agencies will be located in each Community Hub?

    There is no specific formula for a community hub. Services that might go into the hubs could include state-of-the-art modern libraries; children’s and youth centres; social services teams; police contact point; NHS Surgery and Polyclinic; voluntary and community groups; and, leisure services. However, this will ultimately depend on what our residents want, the unique needs of each community and the extent to which services are already available.  Each of the six hubs will be co-produced by residents to ultimately serve as a central access point for many different services that respond to unique local needs.  

    Will Community Hubs result in the closure of my existing service?

    No, this is about improving services and increasing accessibility and not about service closures or reductions.  Existing services within the catchment areas of Community Hubs will be consolidated into their new facility and the older buildings becoming surplus and disposed of.

    Where will the Community Hubs be located?

    Six hubs - five community hubs and a civic hub - are proposed for the neighbourhoods of Seven Kings, Gants Hill, Hainault, Wanstead, Woodford and Ilford Town Centre. Check our map of the proposed hubs and their catchment areas.

    What has Cabinet agreed?

    In November 2018, Cabinet approved:

    • consolidating service delivery across the Council into the five proposed community hubs;
    • approving Seven Kings, Gants Hill, Ashton Play Fields, Wanstead and Hainault as hub sites;
    • updating Redbridge Living brief to include Seven Kings and Gants Hill at Gateway One approval to include provisioning for a community hub;
    • authorising officers to open discussions with relevant parties to effect the delivery of community hubs; and
    • seeking Cabinet approval on the proposed way forward with respect to community hubs at Seven Kings and Gants Hill prior to development.

    Check our Cabinet paper (PDF 988kb).  

    Officers will be working with residents of each of the hub locations to co-design each hub, ensuring that each site is community-led and driven by resident views of what they want in their locality.  An engagement timetable has been identified above.

    Isn't this all going to be very expensive?

    The community hubs will be built as part of wider housing developments across the borough. We expect that this approach will mean the council faces few direct costs. In the long run it will save money, improving quality whilst preserving services locally.

    In light of the current cost of living crisis and economic climate, the council is focusing first on the delivery of Seven Kings Hub, and has paused the delivery of Gants Hill and Hainault Hubs until prevailing economic conditions improve. The other hubs will proceed in due course.