About the Organisation
The Marcus Garvey Centre is a very well-know and well-used landmark in Nottingham. Originally built in 1931 as the headquarters of the Raleigh Bicycle Club, the building became the 400,000th Listed Building, designated at Grade II, by Historic England in August 2018. Renamed the Marcus Garvey Centre and managed by the West Indian Cavaliers Sports and Social Club since 1981, the building is now an 800-capacity venue and has been used for offices, public events, and social events for the African Caribbean community. The centre exists to promote and support the interests of people from the BAME communities by providing the necessary facilities, representing the interests of members via recreational sports and social events, and multiple youth services.
Nottingham City Council owns the building and upon the expiration of their lease in 1984, the West Indian Cavaliers and Social Club have had a rolling contact ever since, with Mojatu Foundation paying £15,000 a year rent for 25% of the building and the LA covers energy bills for the premises. Previous attempts to secure a new lease have been unsuccessful. Tenants and users established Marcus Garvey Centre CIC in 2022 to address the lease, repairs, maintenance, and sustainability of the centre. This represents an opportunity to restructure the ownership and management of the centre. Three small non-profits that have been responsible for running and campaigning to keep the Marcus Garvey Centre in public ownership are:
Marcus Garvey Day Centre: It provides day care catering primarily for the needs of older African and Caribbean citizens with dementia, physical, sensory, mental health disabilities, and other issues. It has served the community for over 30 years providing comfort for individual who are often isolated at home, sometimes with no relatives and who had no form of social enjoyment and connections. It provides culturally specific provision to meet the social, health and recreational needs of African Caribbean elders. Following possible closure by the LA in 2019, over 6,000 people signed the petition, and hundreds went on a march against the closure. There is a huge community support of retaining and improving the day centre.
PATRA Inc ACDA: A young people training and employment provider working with 16-25-year-olds from Caribbean, African, and other BAME communities.
Mojatu Foundation: A not-for-profit organisation serving the African and Caribbean communities of Nottingham. The foundation coordinates the large downstairs space at the centre, renting out 70% of the space to small start-ups. Their focus is on employability, training, community media, health, and wellbeing (e.g. tackling female genital mutilation), immigration services, and legal pro bono support for refugees and asylum seekers.
The three organisations came together under the banner of the Marcus Garvey Centre CIC, forming one overall committee for the centre.
The Marcus Garvey Centre CIC are concerned about the future of the space, due to Nottingham City Council’s ambitions to streamline its property portfolio, reduce wastage and increase income. The partners are keen to keep the centre in public ownership and to negotiate a single lease with a peppercorn rent, to enable them to continue to run and manage the centre on a long-term basis, possibly with an option to purchase the property at a later date.
The partners are also keen to carry out a major plan of refurbishment to the ballroom area, enabling them to provide a full programme of community services and events for the African, Caribbean community and marginalized and minority groups locally.
The Marcus Garvey Centre CIC would therefore welcome offers of pro bono support with the following:
- LEASE NEGOTIATIONS – to establish a long-term agreement with allowance for repairs in the form of reduced rent, and a future purchase option. As well as support to understand the potential liability under any lease associated with a listed building.
- DESIGNER/ARCHITECT – support with remodelling and refurbishment plans, to assess the potential of their ideas, to include remodelling the 660-capacity ballroom, acoustic treatment, the entrance, disabled lift installation, installing a new cafe, kitchen, and toilets, and general state of the property to attract a new generation of users.
- QUANTITY SURVEYOR – to provide cost estimations for the above remodel and refurbishment.
Initial advice in the next few months with the whole process to be completed by the 10.12.2023