During the mid-1980’s when the local pits were being run down, a group of residents from Athersley and New Lodge started discussing ideas on how to tackle the rising unemployment in the area.
Working closely with the Economic Development Department of Barnsley Council, the Group developed a plan to:
- Establish an Employment Resource Centre based in Athersley,
- Set up a local charitable organisation that will work towards the social and economic regeneration of the local community.
In 1990, the Group established a Community Co-operative and successfully obtained grant funding that enabled them to open a small community resource centre in a portakabin and employ 2 members of staff to provide advice, information and guidance to local unemployed people. The portable Resource Centre was located next to Athersley Library on Lindhurst Road and was successfully run with the assistance of Urban Programme grant funding.
Due to the temporary Centre’s success, grant funding from the Single Regeneration Budget and Objective Two ERDF funds, the Centre moved to new premises at Laithes Crescent in 1996, and expanded even further in 1998 to establish the present Lifelong Learning Centre.
In 1991, the Management Group started work on establishing the Roundhouse Community Association by bringing together all the community groups and agencies working in the area. This Association quickly became the Roundhouse Community Partnership whose aims were simply “to assist the social and economic regeneration of the Athersley, New Lodge and Smithies areas of Barnsley”. This became a Company Limited by Guarantee and registered with the Charity Commissioners as the first Community Partnership in Barnsley.
The Partnership has always been managed by local people and established its first project, a Detached Youth Project, in 1995.
Since then, Roundhouse has been successful in obtaining grant funding from many sources to set up a range of projects providing capacity building, support and services to local people in education, training, family support, environmental issues, health and the arts.
The Partnership is currently managing a local regeneration programme of Single Regeneration Budget dedicated funds and is acquiring Objective One funds to establish new initiatives and projects. These are outlined on the Projects page on our Website.
Where does the name come from?
In the 18th century, a gatehouse was built at the entrance to a Manor Farm, on what is now the A61 road. This round structure remained there throughout the building of the estates of New Lodge and Athersley. It was located at the junction of the A61 Wakefield Road and Laithes Lane but was demolished in the early 1960’s. This junction, around which the local commercial and shopping centre was built, became known locally as the “Roundhouse”.
As it is at the centre of our community, the Partnership became the Roundhouse Community Partnership - at the centre of the community.