In the Beginning.......


It’s often difficult to get community activists to talk about themselves, and Georgie Young and Lesley Russell, the founders of Southern Quarter Development Group, are no exception to the rule. Both have played an important part in the community life of Delapre and Far Cotton. Sadly Georgie died in 2011, but has left a lasting and profound legacy on the area. Georgie was not only a community activist of the very best sort but also had a large impact on the many children of Far Cotton and Delapre who were fortunate enough to have her as their teacher. Lesley continues the work that they both started.


For Lesley “it’s not a job, it’s a way of life”. For Georgie and Lesley, their passion was their community. They decided to start Southern Quarter Development Ltd at a time when the inspirational headmaster of  Delapre Middle School, in which the original centre was based, passed away. The new Delapre Community Rooms are now based at what was Delapre Middle School Annexe, thus retaining the links.


After much feasibility and public consultation work was undertaken, SQDG began to build up community youth services and grew over the years from there. When Local Alchemy was brought into Delapre, Carolyn, the coach, assisted Georgie and Lesley in their attempts to bring in funding to develop a substantial community centre.


The Far Cotton REC Centre and Delapre community Rooms have  up to 1,000 users each week, both  offering affordable space for several community group activities. Delapre Community Rooms is the base for the Southern Quarter Development. . The REC Centre provides additional community spaces and a kitchen as well as housing the local library and a pharmacy.


Southern Quarter, a social enterprise which puts the community at the heart of its business.