Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Community hub in South Ockendon takes its first steps

THE first physical steps in creating the South Ockendon Centre – or community hub – will be taken next week.

Belhus library in Derry Avenue will be the initial home for the centre and the changes mean it will have to close for a couple of months, starting at 5pm on Tuesday, 8 January. It will reopen on Monday, 25 March.

Measures have been put in place to minimise disruption during this time with Aveley library opening extra hours on Mondays and Fridays – from 10am to 1pm – and the Baby Rhyme Times taking place on Friday mornings from 10.30am to 11am at South Ockendon Forum and Friday afternoons from 2pm to 2.30pm at Aveley library.

Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr John Kent, said: “Although there will be some disruption, this is a really good news story. Councils across the country are closing libraries and we are investing to ensure we don’t have to do that.

“These hubs or centres will become the way council services are delivered in years to come, working in partnership with the wider community so people’s needs are met in the best and most efficient way possible.”

The plans for the South Ockendon Centre, named by local residents, have been to the council’s cabinet and planning committee in recent months – and a major consultation exercise was held in the area.

The project will be a pathfinder for a wider system of hubs around the borough over the coming months and years.

It has been taken forward in conjunction with community leaders and a multi-agency board overseeing its development and implementation, and the library changes is just the first of a two-phase programme – depending on the wider role-out strategy.

It will see public services and local communities working side-by-side to create a new type of service delivery that puts local people in the driving seat with a dedicated hub manager to oversee day-to-day operation.

The centre will be home to a ‘market place’ for local information, guidance and support – where people can meet and come together to learn how they can best support their current and future needs.


  1. Cynic that I am, I find it worrying about this Belhus Hub.
    Rumours are rife about the following closure of many of our local Libraries to save more money.
    Belhus has been chosen because of it popularity, size, and location for this model. However, some of our other local libraries are less well used for various reasons. Blackshots, Chadwell, and Aveley come to mind. Will they be slowly phased out in favour of larger “Hubs”?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More articles