Thank you

We launch tomorrow, so now feels like a good time to thank some people.

First, to Philip Gibbs and all at LFCA past and present for keeping up the pressure and making sure that Love’s Farm got the community centre it deserved. To George Yazigi, Ed Norton and Colin Chaplin, who along with me (Ben) formed a subteam back in January 2014 to develop plans and liaise with HDC. To Mark Houston and Chris Allen, and later, Bill Tilah, Dan Smith, Joanne McMullough and Chris Stopford at HDC, who had the dubious pleasure of handling all our demands for the building. To Paul Dickens, Tim Jackson and all at Lakeview Village Hall for giving us some much-needed pointers as to what’s involved in launching and managing a community centre.

To our intake of volunteers in April 2014: Caroline Gregson, Claire Renwick, Rosie Ferguson, Rebecca Mitton, Emma Lovelock, Judith Sampson, Sarah Bentley, Emma Stevens, Annabel van Nieuwkerk, Sally Tilley, Kirsty Pitt, Maria Russo, Susi Cracroft, Caroline Henderson, Chris Pritchard, Cornelia Lucian and Femke Millership, all of whom have played or continue to play a vital role in shaping the community centre project. To Mandy Reeve, Maria Russo, Mennel Welch, Emma Lovelock and Matt Gooderham, who contributed to the design of our kitchen.

To Kim Burrows, Katie Baldwin, Carolyn O’Donell, Tegan Ryan, Nicky Dahl and all at BPHA for their on-going support. To Alan Turner and all at Hunts Forum for their training sessions, expert advice and moral support. To the dozens of county, district and town councillors who have argued our case, have given us financial backing and helped us in innumerable other ways. To Ed Reilly, Kevin Matthews, Donna Cooke, Katrina Conroy, Sue Ritchie and all at the St Neots Town Council office for all the times I’ve phoned up, turned up and generally made a nuisance of myself with complicated requests. To Sarah Gosling and all at WREN for their generous support and coping with even more complicated questions and requests.

To our founding trustees – Caroline Gregson, George Yazigi (and me) – followed by nine more a few months later: Claire Renwick, Judith Sampson, Rosie Ferguson, Helene Tame, Eleanor Whalley, David Ruff, Barry Chapman, Emma Lovelock and Rebecca Mitton. To Anne Jones at Pippins and Jacqui Huckle and Gerald Clutterbuck at 19 for their invaluable guidance on the subject of community coffee shops. To Adam Livermore and all at Atkins for designing such a fabulous building, and for welcoming our contributions to the design. To Lee Davis, Andy Gale, Paul Evans, Marc Jeffries, Andy Holland, Jason Davenport and the hundreds of other people who were involved in construction.

To all our regular hirers and session providers: Keela Shackell-Smith, Sarah Morgan, Lucy Knights, Anna Crompton, Katy North, Sarah Knights, Rebecca Mitton, Penny Marsh, Nicky Booth, Nicky Munro, Emily Smith, Declan Tonks, Helene Tame, Karen Dickinson, Jenny Barrett, Amy Barron, Max O’Keefe, Annie Morton, Sue Batchelor, Vicki White, Angie Robertson, Mark Hawking and Catherine Fairholm. Can’t wait to get started.

To Patryk Gacorysiak, Damian Wawrzyniak, Anna and Steve Thompson and especially Ross Millership and Rebecca Mitton for building acoustic panels into the early hours, night after night over the last week. To Caroline Gregson and Judith Sampson for stepping up to do the jobs no one else wants to do. To Eleanor Whalley for being wise and hilarious. To Jonathan, Helene and all the Tame family for their dedication and positive energy. To Rebecca Mitton and David Ruff for being frighteningly hardworking and efficient, particularly over the last month. To Emma Lovelock for bringing her wealth of experience and dedication to everything she does. To Marcus Pickering, who has been a constant source of wisdom and support for Love’s Farm House and so many other projects in and around Love’s Farm.

To Kirsty, Bethany, Finn, Hattie, Margaret and James Pitt for their love, support and generosity in allowing me to be a very distracted husband/father/son over the last couple of years, and to the families of all our volunteers.

I hope it’s been worth it. We find out tomorrow!