The Hub was not the first Henfield website: 'Henfield Village' was created around 2006 by a local lady who was also a web developer. It was a great website for its time but as with so many community websites, keeping it up to date proved too much for one person. By 2009 it was out of date and demand for a replacement was growing.
By that time there were already more than 100 websites in Henfield, belonging to all manner of clubs, businesses and charities. The challenge was to find a way of giving everyone access to everything all in one place: "Henfield at the touch of a button".
It took Henfield Community Partnership a year of hard work to develop a solution. Starting with workshops and interviews to understand what people wanted, obtaining grant funding from West Sussex County Council, putting a request for tenders out to local web developers and finally selecting local business Prompt Creative to develop the website.
Prompt's solution was radical. A website where every village organisation could have its own section and publish its own events and stories. A website that would connect people to each other and to everything that’s going on in Henfield.
We needed a name that was simple, catchy and memorable. We asked people for ideas - and the 'Henfield Hub' was born.
From the start, we saw the Hub as a way of bringing people together and helping to get them more involved in Henfield life. The launch events in the Hall, School, Leisure Centre and Youth Club brought together clubs and charities, the Parish Council, the Medical Centre, the Library and many more organisations to raise awareness and show off their new presence on the Hub.
One challenge that we faced was that many older people were not familiar with computers. Working with the Older People's Group, we put together a series of training events under the banner of "Get Connected".
The enthusiasm was amazing and our first meeting in the Henfield Hall was nearly overrun with people keen to get their hands on a computer and try out the Hub. After several more busy training sessions we started the Computer Club which still operates in the village.
We were also fortunate enough to have Steyning school donate around 50 old computers which were kindly refurbished by Robert Seaford and made available to anyone needing a machine. One housebound resident commented that having a computer and internet access had given her a life back. Within days she was buying her Christmas presents online and video calling her family overseas.
The Hub quickly established itself as the top search result for anything related to Henfield. Clubs gained new members and more people were attending village events.
One year after launch the Hub won a national competition gaining the Action for Market Towns award for social and community projects.
Read more about the early days of the Hub here
Read the story in pictures in our Photo Gallery