Guildford’s New Hub

Posted by

Vida Ragbir

Posted by

Vida Ragbir

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The project will transform a vacant part of our landmark historic building into a vibrant Community & Wellbeing Centre that promotes mental health and community engagement. The accessible, ground floor space will be home to professional therapists and counsellors, both independent and NHS providers, as well as offering versatile meeting spaces for local community groups and public information providers to work from, gather and collaborate. The delivery of these services will blend seamlessly with the educational, cultural and charitable activities that we have been providing to the community of Guildford for over 130 years from our first and second floors including affordable courses, talks and events. By repurposing an empty and neglected area of the building we are preserving the historic structure and long term sustainability, while positively impacting individuals from miles around. This part of the project will specifically provide the disabled toilet facilities.

What we'll deliver:

Disabled Toilet Facilities for this much needed Community & Wellbeing Centre A conversion that is sympathetic to our Grade II listed building A versatile meeting room for group therapies and other community activities A space for the provision of art classes for those living with dementia A variety of rewarding opportunities for volunteers A community asset in a central location close with public transport routes close by A comfortable seating area for those waiting for appointments A suite of much needed counselling and community spaces, private and soundproofed The development of part of a grade II listed property that has stood empty for over eighteen months Preservation of a landmark historic building in Guildford town centre

Why it's a great idea:

Support for people with mental health conditions including adults and young people. Families will have access to mediation services and marriage and relationship guidance will be provided. This will contribute to the overall well-being and mental health awareness in the community. Improve the health of older people through courses and activities such as Tai Chi and yoga. Provide various volunteering opportunities. Providing lifelong learning opportunities for all through courses & workshops Space for the community to gather and engage will foster a sense of belonging and reduce loneliness and social isolation. The hub will serve as a centralised location for accessing resources, information and support services. The hub will facilitate networking and collaboration among individuals and professionals working in the mental health and community support sectors. Overall, the conversion will have a positive impact on the well-being & sense of belonging and community.

Steps to get it done:

Design and Listed Building consent Tender evaluation Shovel Ready - appoint contractor Lead in period Contract Works 8 - 10 weeks Official Opening Counselling / Therapists operational and providing essential mental health support in community

Significantly increase the amount of mental health support available in Guildford and surrounding areas - the counselling professionals who will use the spaces have clients, or clients on waiting lists, from many towns and villages in Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and Berkshire. Provide spaces for organisations and charities to meet including Voluntary Action South West Surrey, South West Domestic Abuse Service.

Support from Counsellor who hopes to use the facilities:

As a counsellor I feel it is very important to offer counselling sessions in an accessible, easy to reach, town centre location near to trains, buses and parking. Guildford Institute also offers other courses important for mental health such as art and tai chi that our clients can access. Here you meet a diverse range of people and committed volunteers. The new space will provide spacious, bright purpose built therapy rooms and an area for group counselling sessions.