A decade ago, the residents of Godolphin Cross in west Cornwall faced a bleak future. Although to the many visitors and tourists passing by it was a picture postcard rural village, in reality local people had lost their shops (and the jobs that went with them), had no play or recreational facilities and were faced with a failing pub (that closed for good in 2015). By 2017, aside from an overcrowded primary school, there were literally no services or facilities for the 700 local people in the village, which had been a victim of “de - servicing” due to a decade of austerity at local and national levels, exacerbated by second home ownership and an increasing number of holiday lets.
But – our community has fought back, regaining control of our future, and we have found ways to overcome these difficulties; in November 2017 the Godolphin Cross Community Association (GCCA) led a successful community-initiated campaign to purchase the Old Chapel for community use, rather than see it bought for property development. We raised £90,000 in the process, after a massive amount of volunteer work and local (and international) fundraising.
And to demonstrate our long term commitment and “stickability”, we have completed two phases of refurbishment to turn the Chapel from a worship space into a multi – use, non - religious facility for local people of all ages to enjoy alongside family and friends. Consequently, since 2017 use of the Old Chapel has risen five - fold, with groups being revived or newly created to provide something for all; under 5s sessions, three thriving youth club programmes, community lunches and coffee mornings for older folks and an increase in hire and new events that has enabled GCCA to become a trading organisation in its own right, with an ambition to become financially self-sufficient by 2023.
As our accounts and our Business Plan show, GCCA have moved from a small, occasional events group into a flexible and successful trading organisation, developing services and driving opportunities that match and meet our local circumstances, as experienced by local people day to day. (All 8 GCCA Trustees are local residents, incidentally).
Cornwall is a beautiful place, but it does have its problems and disadvantages; rural isolation and deprivation are very real, and we see each week how it frustrates the potential of the young and the life quality of older residents. Most of us feel we are lucky to live here but the reality can be very different for a 13-year-old on a wet winter’s night in January, or a single older lady who hasn’t seen her friends or neighbours for weeks. That is where GCCA – and many organisations like us – come into their own.
“Onen Hag Oll” – One for All, as the Cornish say…
To find out more visit: http://godolphincross.community/
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