The Florence Park Residents Association was formed in 1949, and work started in 1952 to build a community centre in Cornwallis Road. Many volunteers worked long hours to build the Centre, with members of the Bowls Club building their own club room at the same time.
Continuous fundraising (such as summer fetes and bingo drives) contributed to the building fund, and the centre opened in September 1957. The building was basic at first, but has been added to over the years, and now has a hall with parquet flooring, lounge room, kitchen.
A bar licence was applied for in 1967, and Florence Park became the first community centre in Oxford to hold its own licensed bar. In 1989 the Community Association split to run the Social Club (bar) under a separate committee, to comply with tax regulations. The bar profits are still handed over to the Community Association once a year, and are a very useful addition to the funds of the Community Association, enabling them to support the general running of the Centre. The building is owned by Oxford City Council and is managed by the Florence Park Community Association. Thanks to Sheila Tree for permission to use information from her fabulous book 'The Changing Faces of Florence Park' - pictured above. Now New classes are always being added to a full weekly calendar of events - include Baby group, Tai Chi, Martial arts, Pilates and other activities - many of which were requested by locals in the Florence Park-wide survey we initiated and will soon be repeating. The Centre is also at the 'centre' of organising activities and events to involve and entertain the community. We have grown considerably over the last 7.5yrs , encouraging residents to use the centre once again as a place to access classes and clubs but also to become involved in social activities that we put on for the local community & which they also become involved in helping to organise and deliver themselves. We have identified that this can often successfully be through the performing arts (song, theatre, spoken word) and have used this as a tool to include and reach out to those harder to reach sections of the community - always with an eye to delivering a good time for all along with fulfilling our charitable objectives and growing the outreach of the centre.