New community centre proves success - The Stratford Observer
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12th Aug, 2022

New community centre proves success

FOUNDATION House in Stratford is proving a community success story.

Six months after opening, more than 20 local organisations, have moved into the Mason Road-based community hub which offers space to a range of groups, charities and organisations all working to benefit the community.

Stratford Town Trust, which runs Foundation House, has granted space to a total of 12 groups needing a long-term base.

Safeline has now moved in as part of a programme to extend its services for survivors of sexual abuse in Stratford.

The Warwick-based charity has already helped over 50,000 people from all over the UK on their journey through sexual abuse and rape.

Liz Walsh, Safeline head of clinical services, said: “Nearly 20 per cent of all Safeline’s face to face counselling clients are based in Stratford but we know more people need our support and the new premises in the town, along with the other support Stratford Town Trust has provided, will enable us to do that.

“Being part of the community will help increase awareness of Safeline and the services it provides which will hopefully encourage many more people in the town and surrounding areas to access the support they so desperately need. We now have the resources to help them and access to those resources will be much easier and quicker.’’

And the Stratford Ambulance Association is also moving in The charity provides first aid training and first aid event cover across the local area – for everything from the Shakespeare Marathon to the River Festival, but had been struggling to find a base.

Chairman Ernie Coombes said Foundation House would give the group a new lease of life.

“It gives us the space we need for our training and we’re now hoping to grow our group and re-invent what we do, investing in new vehicles so we can help in the more rural areas as well.”

Also taking up residency are the Warwickshire Army Cadet Force Stratford Detachment.

With the Reserve Centre in New Broad Street closing, the ACF needed a new home, which they hope will encourage more youngsters aged 12 to 17 to join.

Steve Huyton, CEO for Warwickshire & West Midland (South Sector) ACF, said: “We have been given office and classroom areas and a stores room for equipment. The cadets have an area outside for drill and field-craft activities and the use of more classrooms and lecture rooms as and when available.

Two more groups have also been given space – the Heart of England Woodturners, gaining a place for weekly demonstrations, and the Stratford District Radio Society, getting a room for the group to meet.

They all join the existing Foundation House community, now fully operational and including Escape Arts, Men’s Shed, Shakespeare Lions, Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project, Second Thoughts Drama Group, Welcombe Radio and Change, Grow, Live (formerly Addaction).

And more than 15 other local charities and organisations have also accessed space, hiring rooms for everything from board meetings to book clubs.

They include Heart of England Mencap, Warwickshire Pride, Stratford-upon-Avon Art Society, Stroke Support Group, Citizens Advice, Stratford Foodbank, National Childbirth Trust, Rubbish Friends, ESH Works and Entrust Care Partnership among others.

Stratford Town Trust spokeswoman Rachel Key said: “It is great to see so many different groups using Foundation House.

“Our aim is to make it easier for local people to find and use activities or services that will make their lives better. Offering organisations a base, making it easier for them to work together and kick-starting innovative new projects, helps to make this possible.

“We are excited to see more charities, local groups, social enterprises and changemakers join our growing community.”

Visit www.foundationhouse.co.uk for further details.

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