The Wokingham Charity and Community Hub, the first of its kind in the Wokingham Borough, has launched this week (1 December).
Initially the hub, which is located at Waterford House in Wokingham town centre, will open for appointments only. Appointments can be booked by calling (0118) 228 0480 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org from 8 December.
And it will fully open its doors in the new year for members of the public to drop-in and seek help, advice and support. It is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Earlier this year, the borough council agreed grants and contracts worth more than £2million with voluntary, and community sector (VCS) organisations to provide prevention services to adults. This will help deliver on the council’s VCS Strategy 2020-2025 priorities, specifically to work in partnership and build capacity of the VCS, whilst commissioning services in-line with strategic priorities that deliver quality and value for money. The Wokingham Charity and Community Hub is a key service as outlined in the voluntary and community sector strategy, agreed in 2020.
Six charities have moved into the hub:
- Involve (which is managing the hub)
- Cranstoun Wokingham
- Home Start Wokingham District
- Health Watch Wokingham Borough
- The Link Visiting Scheme
- Mind in Berkshire
And local charities CLASP and Promise Inclusion (Pinc) will move in during December, and Wokingham Volunteer Centre and Wokingham Foodbank will be joining in the new year. Citizen’s Advice Wokingham are already located at Waterford House on the second floor and are also part of the hub.
Waterford House has been reconfigured to create suitable office, breakout and meeting room space for the voluntary, charity and community organisations moving into the building. This has included new carpets, ceilings and fittings and improved ventilation to some rooms in response to Covid-19 best practice.
This new hub builds on from the positive partnership developed between the borough council and the voluntary and community sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. It brings a number of organisations under one roof and it will provide high quality information, advice and support to enable people to access the right services to meet their individual needs and circumstances at the right time.
There are aspirations to roll out further hubs elsewhere in the borough during the coming years, as identified in the council’s voluntary and community sector strategy agreed in 2020.
Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, said: “This is a fantastic achievement, and I am delighted the first ever charity and community hub has launched in Wokingham town centre. I hope it will be the first of several in the borough.
“Working with the voluntary sector is a key priority for us. During the past 18 months it has become so clear we can achieve so much more for our residents if we work together with the voluntary and community sector. There are huge benefits to our communities from this coordinated approach to delivering key services and support. We can’t understate the value of the voluntary sector and the crucial work that takes place in the Wokingham Borough.
“This hub is unique and it will build on from the great partnership built during the pandemic between the borough council and the voluntary and community sector.”
One of the first charities to move into the hub is The Link Visiting Scheme. Marjie Walker, chief executive officer at The Link Visiting Scheme, said: “The facilities have so much potential and we’re really looking forward to working with everyone in the hub and being more accessible to residents.
“We absolutely love it and are so grateful for the council’s support in helping us deliver our services more effectively without worrying about the basics. Having a good facility to work from means we can concentrate on serving our community which is what we love to do.”
As well as contacting the Hub direct, you can also continue to contact the charities in the usual way too:
- Cranstoun Wokingham – An integrated domestic abuse service that supports victims and children and delivers programmes that tackle the root cause of perpetrator behaviour. Telephone: (0118) 402 1921 / email: email@example.com
- Citizen’s Advice Wokingham – offers free, confidential, impartial and independent advice and information to anyone living or working in Wokingham borough.
- Telephone: 0808 278 7958 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Home Start Wokingham District – a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. Telephone: (0118) 98 88025 / email: admin@home-Startwd.org.uk
- Healthwatch Wokingham Borough – is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services. Telephone: (0118) 418 1418 / email: email@example.com
- Involve – helps to support other charities and community groups throughout Bracknell Forest, Wokingham Borough and the surrounding areas. Telephone (01344) 304404 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Link Visiting Scheme – a charity dedicated to reducing loneliness in Wokingham Borough. Telephone: (0118) 979 8019 / email: email@example.com
- Mind in Berkshire – the Wokingham Wellbeing Service helps borough residents suffering from mental health issues, including anxiety, isolation and stress. It is available through all Wokingham Borough GP practices. To seek support speak to your GP practice and ask for a referral to the service, alternatively residents can fill out a self-referral form online. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving into the hub during December are:
- CLASP – a self-advocacy group for people with learning disabilities in the Wokingham Borough. Telephone: (0118) 979 6364 / email: email@example.com
- Promise Inclusion (Pinc) – Supporting people with learning disabilities and/or autism, their carers and families. Telephone: 0300 777 8539 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving into the hub during January are:
- Wokingham Foodbank – an organisation that exists to provide help to those in need in Wokingham including the supply of food (all food parcels require a referral) and, where appropriate, help with heating and lighting. Telephone: 07926 524605 / email: email@example.com / Members of the public will be able to collect food parcels from February from the Wokingham Charity and Community Hub. Until then, clients should continue to visit the charity’s premises on Broad Street Walk in Wokingham
- Wokingham Volunteer Centre – Offers a free volunteer recruitment and matching service across the Wokingham Borough area. It also runs an employer supported volunteering scheme to get local companies and businesses based within Wokingham Borough involved in volunteering as well as the community schemes Green ‘n’ Tidy scheme and Wokingham Transport Scheme. Telephone: (0118) 977 0749 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org