3rd Jul, 2020

Redditch groups working to find themselves a new one-stop shop

Harry Leach 13th Mar, 2020

COMMUNITY groups in Redditch are working together to create a new one-stop help shop for the town.

Age UK, Batchley Support Group, Ending Loneliness, Repair Cafe, Church Hill Big Local and Redditch Older People’s Forum are just some of the groups looking to get involved.

They would share their services under one roof, similar to how the Ecumenical Centre currently operates.

But the project would be more ‘hands on’ and, if the right premises can be found, a place for local people to restore and recycle second-hand items.

Matthew Duggins, who runs community interest company ‘Hotel Hope’, which works with people suffering from addiction, is the driving force behind the project.

He said: “Ideally we want to find a suitable place near Redditch’s recycling tip on Crossgate Road so that we could collect items from there.

“Residents would then be able to come to the centre and have a go at craft making – improving their skills and giving them something to put on their CVs.

“And by having several charities in one hub we will be able to signpost our users to other services which may also benefit them.”

The initiative comes as Tory-led Redditch Borough Council slashes its level of subsidies to the community voluntary sector.

This week, Matthew took several groups to see The Reusers Centre, run by Jericho Foundation, in Sutton Coldfield.

The centre up-cycles unwanted household items, furniture, bric-a-brac, toys, electrical goods and antiques instead of throwing them away.

Matthew is hoping, if he can get it off the ground, that the Redditch centre would follow the same blueprint.

Tony Cox of Age UK Redditch said: “When the council reduces its funding we will struggle to find somewhere else to go.

“So we really want to get involved with this project.

“It would also be a great place for young and old people to work together.”

Steve Franklin who heads the Techno Cafe at the Ecumenical Centre, said: “Ideally we can get somewhere on peppercorn rent but we understand this will be difficult with the council’s current financial situation.”

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