THE COMMUNITY is more together than ever after the opening of Foundation House in Stratford.
The new facility, set-up by Stratford Town Trust, offers flexible space to charities and community groups under one roof in a refurbished former industrial unit on Mason Road.
So far seven organisations have been granted space – Men’s Shed, Escape Arts, Welcombe Radio, Second Thoughts Drama Group, WRAP (Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project), Addaction and Lions International – and nearly 50 groups in total have expressed interest in moving into the centre.
And the first tenants could not be more happy with their new home.
Among the first to move in was WRAP, a charity offering various support services and activities, including a day care centre, dementia cafes, and training courses.
The charity – set up more than 20 years ago – suffered a double blow when it lost its base at Stratford Hospital and then its new home in Bidford, leaving no choice but to operate from a bedroom office.
Spokeswoman Maggie Curtis said: “It’s very exciting and very positive. Foundation House will offer lots of opportunities.”
Second Thoughts Drama Group now has a proper place to store props and costumes having used a storage container for the past seven years.
Member Mairi Macdonald said: “Foundation House is the most wonderful facility. As members we can now meet and plan, which we couldn’t do before.
“It’s light, it’s warm and full of opportunities like networking and sharing with other groups like WRAP which could use our props for its reminiscence sessions. It’s going to work incredibly well.”
And the group already has props including a lectern and a tombstone created by fellow Foundation House tenants The Men’s Shed.
The social group for men aged 50 and over, has its own workshop space, along with work benches, equipment and a project building area.
The group build everything from beehives and hedgehog houses to the Shakespeare Lions Santa sleigh but have been struggling to find a suitable home since losing their previous home when Bell Court was redeveloped.
Group founder Keith Madden said the group had lost a lot of members since they had moved from their original home but were hoping to get more involved at Foundation House.
Addaction – a charity supporting those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction – provides its service from a number of GP surgeries across South Warwickshire, and now also has space in Foundation House.
Team leader Sarah Coleman said: “The space will allow a more visible approach where clients can open up about fears and worries they may not have been able to before in our more clinical settings.
“It also provides a lot of opportunity for clients to participate in projects, and explore their creativity through groups like Escape Arts and the Second Thoughts Drama Group, which could also have a therapeutic effect.
“And the fact that it’s a community centre will allow them more freedom and anonymity, it helps break down barriers and essentially makes people just people.”
Community broadcaster Welcombe Radio has a second and more spacious studio at Foundation House, along with Escape Arts, a charity which hosts creative workshops and community projects throughout the district.
As well as the more long-term spaces being granted by the trust, spaces can also be let, with hot desking facilities and four meeting rooms/event spaces also available for hire and community use.
There are multiple kitchen and toilet facilities in place and disabled access. There are also 40 parking spaces on site.
Visit www.foundationhouse.co.uk for more details.