The Great Ashby Community Resource Centre, as it was first named, was built in 2003 by house builder Croudace. During the first three years of operation, the centre was managed and run by North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC), the district in which the building currently stands.
In 2007 NHDC decided to pass on the running of the centre to a management committee made up of local residents. In preparation of this, the Great Ashby Community Centre Management Association (GACCMA) was set up as a company limited by guarantee and then set up as a charity with the Charity Commission, with the name of the building becoming the Great Ashby Community Centre. The trustees of the charity were and continue to be, residents of Great Ashby and people connected to the centre by use. They all volunteer their time.
The centre has thrived as many different groups use the centre for their activities. Over the years these have included a pre-school, children’s music classes, Over-50s club and many different exercise classes. It has also proved to be a very popular party venue.
The intention was always that an extension should be built. The original plans were to add a place of worship, however after consultation with the community and the Great Ashby Community Church, it was decided that a community space would be of greater use by the people of the area. During the consultation people had also expressed a desire for a café as a meeting place in the centre.
In 2010 plans were drawn up for the smaller of the existing halls at the front of the building to be converted into a high street style coffee shop/café and an extension to include a hall space with kitchenette, storage room, toilets and a Chaplaincy office for the church. This new space would provide a larger space for classes and groups to meet and would allow additional capacity for holding parties in the centre.
The building work took place during the Spring and Summer of 2012. The new hall was open for users at the end of October 2012.
During these building works a café was set up in the smallest of our halls. Circles Café Bar, a Community Interest Company, was a separate legal entity from the Community Centre but whose profits would be given to GACCMA for community use. Circles opened its doors on Saturday 13th April 2013. After serving the community for just shy of seven years, Circles closed during the Covid pandemic of 2020 and the space reverted back to a hall for classes and smaller events in 2021.
The Community Centre continues to be run by the Community Centre Manager, supported by the trustees and aims to provide a balanced and vibrant community facility offering a wide range of community facilities to the residents of Great Ashby and beyond.