CHARITIES in Stratford are facing homelessness after being told their community hub has to close.
Stratford Town Trust said it was sad to announce that it would have to say goodbye to its current community hub, Foundation House, in June.
Since it opened in 2018, the hub on Masons Road has provided low-cost space to 12 charities, as well as supporting many more through activities for the local community and flexible spaces available for hire.
The Trust – a grant giving charity – said it was proud of what it have achieved at Foundation House, including its Fun Palaces, regular Community Cafes, Winter Warm Hubs, a successful Repair Cafe in partnership with Net Zero Stratford and hosting weekly ESOL classes and NHS diabetic eye screening.
But earlier this year, the landlord for Foundation House gave notice of its intention to exercise a break clause in the lease in order that the land can be developed as part of the Canal Quarter Redevelopment Zone. Despite attempts to negotiate an extension of the lease to provide enough time to find alternative premises in consultation with the current user groups and stakeholders, this wasn’t granted.
The Trust continued that it had now given notice to its licence holders to vacate the building by June 21 and they were offering them support to find new homes. This included brokering introductions with other local community facilities and funding, if needed, to cover the cost of storage or space in the short term.
Sara Aspley, the Trust’s Chief Executive said: “It’s extremely disappointing to be moving out of Foundation House in this way. We had hoped for more time to plan, but it is simply out of our hands. We genuinely value the work all our groups deliver within our hub and have seen firsthand the positive impact it has had on the lives of so many people. We remain committed to the need for a community hub in the town and hope that from this situation will emerge a new facility of which we can all be proud.”
Once the Foundation House lease comes to an end, the Trust will be exploring the possibility of running some of its community hub activities from Venture House for a period of 12 months while it seeks a longer-term solution.