How university graduate helped to rejuvenate Northampton community centre

The centre now hosts networking events and community groups

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 11:01 am

A Northampton community centre has been reinvigorated after the pandemic as a new director and University of Northampton (UoN) graduate was appointed as director.

Rachel Bott graduated from UON’s Childhood and Youth (BA) degree in 2017 and is now the director of the Doddridge Centre, in St James.

During the pandemic, the centre, like others up and down the country, had not been open as usual, but the newly appointed Rachel was quick to see its potential and was soon on a mission to turn it from an empty space into a vibrant community hub that fully serves the people who live in the area and need it.

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Rachel Bott is the new director of the Doddridge Centre.

She said: “I have a real passion for helping people and spending time to make a difference in their lives, and this is where I have concentrated my energies since graduating.

“St. James is a hugely diverse community with around 60 languages spoken by residents, obviously making community engagement a struggle for some.

“But where others see a struggle, I see challenges to tackle. So when I saw the advert for the job asking applicants if they were up for this, I thought: “I certainly am! This is definitely the role for me.”

Rachel has hosted the new look centre’s first networking event for charity and community organisations, with more than 30 outlets turning up to talk about how they can work better work together for the people of St. James.

The centre also hosts a group for toddlers, practical skills workshops to help people navigate a post-Covid world with CV writing and interview skills.

The next big project on the agenda is housing the St. James library.

Rachel says she has the university to thank for her success.

She added: “I’d like to give a little more back for the University, so I’m talking with them about having other students from their childhood, youth and families programmes come here for their placements.

“I’m really keen for them to get the same great learning experience I had and to take what we do here with them wherever they go.”

Find out more about the Doddridge Centre by following the centre on Facebook and Twitter.

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