The Petersfield Area Community Trust was founded in 1998 after the closure of the youth focused Howard Mallett Centre on St Matthew’s Piece. It is a registered charity whose aims are to promote a sense of community in this area and secure a new community centre. PACT has been involved in many local initiatives through the years, improving the local area, spinning off projects like the Friends of Mill Road Cemetery, or organizing community meetings, as well as running events including the traditional and popular summer party. PACT is an open charity for the local community - trustees are reelected every year and we consider all Petersfield residents to be members. The people have changed over the years, but the charitable aims remain the same.
In 2015, the "Save Our Space" campaign, working with PACT, made a £700,000 bid to acquire the Sturton Street Methodist Chapel and Hall. We lost out in a sealed bid process mandated by the Methodist Church.
This area of Cambridge is lacking in community facilities and we had hoped to acquire the Chapel and Hall as the community centre which the local community desperately needs - for nursery space, toddler groups, services for older people and many family activities to bring the whole community together. The bid was based on huge local support, a strong team, and the social investment of 450 local individuals and families, as well as strong City Council backing.
The toddler group, dance school and other popular activities previously held there were lost, as was the opportunity to host so many more activities for which there is no local space.
The key problem in Petersfield is the lack of any centre where community uses are the priority - as it was on this hall previously, much like the similarly lost Howard Mallett Youth Centre at the other end of the same street, back in 1998. This was our best chance in 17 years to turn the situation around, to found a centre from which noone would feel excluded, a centre which would bring everyone together, of whatever religion or background.
Now, the last major development for which the local area has space offers what may be our last opportunity.
The Petersfield Area Community Trust is a registered charity, No. 1118762.
PACT's normal website is www.PACTcambridge.org .