Connecting Communities

We want to tackle loneliness and social isolation by bringing people together from around the Midlands

To put this into action, we’ve compiled regional guides to great community groups and activity centres in the regions that we serve.

Here are a selection of some fantastic community groups and activity centres you can find in the Midlands. From baby and toddler groups for young families to centres for the arts, we’ve compiled a range of places that cater for many different kinds of people. Whether you’re looking for a day out or a new group/event to regularly attend, we’ve tried to incorporate activities and centres for everybody. 

All of these groups and centres can be reached using the Arriva bus network, and we have provided information on locations and routes so that you can easily get there. You can also find out more information about each organisation or group by following the link to their website.

Please use the information below to explore some of these great groups and activities in the Midlands.

QUAD - Derby

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A cinema, gallery and workshop that’s open to everyone, QUAD is a creative haven that caters to all kinds of people. From writing classes to knitting clubs, there are all sorts of ways you can get involved here. Definitely one for the budding artists out there!

The state-of-the-art QUAD facility features a three-screen cinema, contemporary visual arts gallery and award-winning café bar that’s become a celebrated hub within the local community in Derby. All ages are welcome to participate in a range of immersive activities and workshops, including digital media and film classes.

QUAD is open daily from 10am–10pm and offers a varied programme of mixed-media events, workshops, classes, courses and exhibitions. Among the creative events on offer is GoldsQUAD, a creative arts project exclusively aimed at those 55 and over, as well as the Derby Sketching Club, Mindful Crafts, Make it Sew and KnitsQUAD, all of which are available to attendees of all ages.

Find it on Google Maps: QUAD

Find out more on the website: QUAD

Catch the bus: Any route to Derby Bus Station

Lottie’s Tots - Tamworth

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From newborns to toddlers, babies of all ages have all sorts of fun at Lottie’s Tots. With plenty of space for toys, games and activities, parents can grab a drink and chat with other mums and dads, while tots stay on the move.

Established in 2015 by Emma Claybrook, Lottie’s Tots is a Community Interest Company which was initially set up as a means of giving parents access to affordable social groups for their children. The centre runs weekly sessions for children including pre-walker babies up to toddlers, with a mix of free play and structured craft lessons to engage and stimulate little ones of all ages and abilities.

Regular 90-minute meetups take place on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, while Wednesdays are reserved for parents with pre-walker babies. The price-per-child is £3 per session, with an extra £1 per sibling under 10 months of age.

The sessions run by Lottie’s Tots also give parents affordable access to an invaluable project that believes in helping communities to connect.

Find it on Google Maps: Lottie's Tots

Find out more on the website: Lottie's Tots

Catch the bus: 110 Tamworth to Birmingham

Déda - Derby

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Déda is a creative centre for Dance, Contemporary Circus and Outdoor Work – connecting locally, nationally and internationally.

With a curriculum of over 50 classes a week, performances from the best of the international dance and contemporary circus scene, visual arts exhibitions and an extensive community development programme, Déda is one of the key cultural organisations in Derby. Classes for adults offer a range of opportunities for all ages and abilities; whether you want to get fit, improve your wellbeing, or learn a new skill – Déda’s extensive programme caters to all with everything from Pilates and Yoga, to Ballet and Social Dancing.

As well as being the perfect place to unwind after your class or before an evening performance, the CUBE café bar is an ideal spot for grabbing lunch or dinner with friends. Their seasonal menu boasts some of Derby’s finest cuisine, in addition to an exceptional choice of independent wines and ales.  The café plays host to a range of events, including live jazz evenings, book clubs and poetry performance nights.

Find it on Google Maps: Déda

Find out more on the website: Déda

Catch the bus: 8 Derby to Mackworth Circular

Community Together - Tamworth

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Designed to blur the boundaries between generations, Community Together offers activities, games, arts and crafts designed to get both young and older members of the community having fun together. Organised by a dedicated team of 50 volunteers, Community Together is a not-for-profit initiative delivering an invaluable range of activities, projects, workshops, classes and events to people across the Tamworth community. Such is the success of the project that Community Together received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in 2016 – highlighting the value of the initiative within the wider community.

From youth clubs to IT classes, befriending lunches to craft workshops, cycling groups to chair-based exercises; Community Together provides a creative and comprehensive mix of activities that every member of the community can get involved in. The project’s main aim is to deliver community services that are accessible to all, whatever your age or interests. Some Community Together sessions and activities are provided in alternate locations in the local area, so be sure to check their website.

Find it on Google Maps: Community Together

Find out more on the website: Community Together

Catch the bus: 110 Tamworth to Birmingham

Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre

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Sit down to a great movie or feed your inner art critic at the Phoenix, Leicester’s leading centre for cinema, art and digital culture. Entertaining and inspiring, it’s a place to enjoy the best of what the art scene has to offer.

Phoenix features a two-screen cinema showcasing the latest independent and blockbuster films, and regularly hosts film and digital media festivals and events. It screens micro-budget independent films from local and international filmmakers, and curates regular exhibitions as part of its comprehensive arts programme. The centre also offers a packed programme of events, workshops and classes, with a focus on art and film.

For elderly members of the community, as well as students and young people, Phoenix offers midweek matinee screenings of all its films for as little as £6 per person. Visitors can also combine a film with a meal in the centre’s café for £15.80 – which sounds like a great excuse to start your own community film club!

Find it on Google Maps: Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre

Find out more on the website: Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre

Catch the bus: Any route to Leicester Haymarket Bus Station/St Margaret's Bus Station

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

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A great day out for all the family, the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery in Leicester hosts a brilliant selection of temporary and permanent exhibitions.

Wide-ranging collections which showcase curiosities and intriguing artefacts from the natural world and a selection of different cultures can be explored seven days a week.

Perfect for all members of the family, the museum’s exhibitions explore ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, space and the Victorian era.

And for those looking to enjoy the hub’s artistic space, there is a selection of traditional and modern galleries – including the centre’s world-renowned collection of German Expressionism.

Keep an eye on the website as well, as the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery plays host to a range of events including expert talks by curators and lunchtime concerts.

Find it on Google Maps: New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

Find out more on the website: New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

Catch the bus: Any route to Leicester Haymarket Bus Station/St Margaret's Bus Station

NCT: Bumps, Babies and Beyond – Leicester

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Providing support for parents to be, new parents, bumps and babies, NCT Leicester is ideal for families seeking impartial advice about their new arrivals. Trained experts provide a sympathetic ear and answers for the most common and important questions new parents may have.

Whether you have a question about your pregnancy or you just need somewhere to relax with your little one, NCT Leicester is perfect for families of all sizes and ages.

Another great function of NCT Leicester is the network of parents it brings together. Great for young families, they can connect and make friends with others who are new to parenthood – sharing advice and support along the way. This support network is vital for so many families, both throughout pregnancy and as the baby grows up, and can lead to lifelong friendships.

With dedicated rooms for babies and toddlers, NCT Leicester can be used by families for many years – and there’s always a cup of tea and tray of biscuits on the go!

Find it on Google Maps: NCT

Find out more on Facebook: NCT

Catch the bus: 50 Leicester to Narborough | 51 Leicester to Braunstone

U3A (The University of the Third Age)

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The U3A (The University of the Third Age) boasts several great activity groups throughout the Midlands, providing people of retirement age a series of groups in which to build skills and learn something new. Discover if you’re close to a U3A group using our table below.

Location
Website
Arriva Bus Route
Map
West Leicestershire U3A
Market Harborough U3A
Loughborough U3A
Leicester U3A
Hinckley U3A
Great Glen U3A
Enderby Area U3A
Countesthorpe U3A
Blaby U3A
Ashby De La Zouch U3A
Wyre Forest & District U3A
Wrekin U3A
Wolverhampton U3A
Whitchurch & District U3A
Wellington U3A
Sutton Coldfield U3A
Stafford U3A
Shrewsbury U3A
Oswestry Borders U3A
Oswestry U3A
Lichfield U3A
Kibworth and District U3A
Burntwood & District U3A
Bridgnorth & District U3A

Please note – the information listed is for guidance only, and we’d recommend visiting the website of the group you wish to attend for group-specific information, such as rules of attendance and up-to-date location information.

We hope the above has helped you find a regional class, activity centre or support group to help you, and has provided all the information you require.

We’re keen to continue adding to this list of brilliant community groups and arts centres, with more fantastic places throughout the Midlands. If you’re a member of a great community group in the Midlands and want us to know about it, please contact us on [email protected].

To find out more about loneliness and social isolation, head back to our main feature page, here.

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