Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

Westfield is a tight-knit community of 5,000 people in the town of Yeovil. It's also one of the more deprived areas of our town, with high levels of poverty, loneliness and ill health. The community has one meeting space, the old St. Peters Church Hall at the centre of Westfield. In 2012 this was recommended for demolition, and is at the end of its useful life. Despite this, the Hall is used by 15 different community groups including youth and toddler groups, uniformed organisations, the elderly and exercise classes.

Our project is to demolish the old hall and replace it with a new purpose-built Community Centre. In place of the single space of the hall it will have 3 usable spaces (large hall, meeting/training room and 1-2-1 room) plus a communal area for a volunteer run community cafe. It will have full disabled access, a brand new kitchen, and will be open not just for hirers but as a community drop-in throughout the week. As well as much better facilities for existing groups, the Centre will become a hub for support, training and advice. Citizens Advice, Yarlington Housing, Somerset Libraries and other providers will provide a range of training in life skills, IT, money advice etc. These will directly address the lack of local provision and the needs of the area. The 'community cafe' area will create a place to meet, drop in and build community among users.

We expect to see the current 350 weekly users increase to 700-800, to see an increase in the number of community user groups as well as outside agencies, and to make a significant and long-term difference to the prosperity and well-being of Westfield. The old Hall has stood since 1966, and the new Community Centre will serve Westfield well for the next 50 years, and then many more!

The project is a partnership between St. Peters Church, Westfield Community Association, South Somerset District Council and Yarlington Housing. It will be run by a management team including the Church, Community Association and user groups. 50 years since St. Peters Hall was built to serve the community of Westfield, we are coming together again to build something for Westfield to be proud of.

We have raised over £800,000 for the project through grants and community fundraising, so we are close to securing all the funds we need to build the new Centre. An Aviva grant will enable us to equip it for users - a hob, oven, dishwasher and other kitchen equipment, comfy chairs for the seating areas, toys for the childrens corner, shelving for the pop-up library, stackable chairs and tables for the meeting spaces, and display and notice boards to keep people informed of what's going on. We need £20,000 for all of this, and if we can raise £10,000 through the Aviva Community Fund we will be well on the way towards this.

A vote for our project will mean we can make a cup of tea for the person living alone who comes in seeking company, we can provide toys for toddlers to play with whilst their parents have a chat, we can bring advice training and support to the doorstep of a whole community, and we can run a community cafe for all 5,000 local people to drop into. Please support our project, and vote for Westfield!

St Peters Church Yeovil

So many people have come together: pensioners delivering leaflets, mums organising fundraising walks and sales, businesses offering money and practical help. There's a change that's happening in our community, from 'it'll never happen' to 'we can do this'. Teamwork and hope are powerful things.

Location: Yeovil