THERE’S a buzz of excitement around the Goitside area of Bradford as a new community centre for use by vulnerable people in the district nears completion.
Just over 15 months ago a Big Lottery Fund grant of almost £750,000 was awarded to Christian charity Reach Beyond, whose patron is the Right Reverend Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford.
Bishop Toby has praised the centre’s ethos and commitment to helping people.
The charity, based in Grattan Road, is using the money to convert its building into a community services centre.
The Millside Centre is due to open on February 25th and will provide a raft of services to benefit those who are battling homelessness, addiction, mental heath issues, as well as refugees to the area trying to learn English and integrate, plus many others.
More than half the grant is being used to develop the former Kings Security alarm company building, and the rest will be used to fund the first two years of the project.
“It is very exciting to see the project near completion. It will create a central place for people to come to and get the help they need,” said Reach Beyond Chief Executive Colin Lowther.
The centre is providing a reception area with designated rooms for activities such as life skills and counselling. There is a cafe area and kitchen where cooking skills can be enhanced.
Project Manager Catharine Parker-Littler said the premises were already being put to good use and already English classes are taking place here to help people, particularly women, become confident and feel less isolated.
Eventually the centre will become self-financing through revenue generated by supportive services using the premises.
As well as a large room suitable for training and group workshops, there is a medium-sized room and a meeting room for small groups.
Some of the services which will be catered for through the charity and community partners include psychological therapy and counselling, parenting skills and development work, debt counselling, signposting and advice on such issues as housing, cooking and nutrition workshops, jobs clubs for the unemployed and young people, friendship support for people with a disability and addiction recovery work.
Bishop Toby said: “This is going to be a place of real partnership, with the communities round about the centre as well as the British Red Cross, churches and other organisations and individuals.
“The team working at the centre are passionate, and committed to making it a safe and welcoming place for anyone from any background.”