The launch of a special book helped to mark the second anniversary of the Swindon Hub community space.
It was launched earlier today as Swindon Hub began a celebration of its second anniversary.
Based in The Parade, the Hub is home to a variety of local groups as well as offering visitors an affordable cafe, a community bookshop, items for sale from local retailers, upcycled furniture from Renew Men's Shed and surplus stock items donated by shops, with profits going to Swindon Night Shelter.
'Words From the Hub' features poetry, prose and images from more than 30 writers and artists, and the launch was attended by contributors along with Hub volunteers and guests including Deputy Mayor Cllr Imtiyaz Shaikh, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet Member for Heritage, Art and Culture Cllr Marina Strinkovsky, Artswords' Matt Holland and community poet Tony Hillier.
The Deputy Mayor said of the Hub and the writing group: "It's amazing, it's beautiful. How they are encouraging people to come forward and helping to support them to write their heart out, and putting that into a book, is fantastic."
Artswords, an offshoot of the Swindon Festival of Literature of which Matt Holland was organiser for many years, is a strong supporter of the Hub.
Mr Holland said: "My words spoken here will disappear like smoke in the wind, but one thing about the written word is that it's immortalised."
He added that a century from now, people would be able to read the book and know what was going on in the town when it was put together.
Cllr Strinkovsky described the occasion, the book and the Hub itself as awesome. She praised the Hub, which began in the shadow of the pandemic, saying: "One of the few good things that comes from adversity is creativity."
She compared the Hub to a shrub which had grown amid the wreckage left by the pandemic, and added: "Every book, every group, every art exhibition downstairs, is a flower on that shrub."
The speakers included writers whose work appears in the book. Among them was CL Messen, who described how the creative writing group had rekindled her love for writing.
The launch ended with a fundraising auction of a copy of Words From the Hub which had been signed by contributors and Hub personnel. The winning £80 bid for the book - usually priced at £3 - came from James Davies, partner of contributor and fellow bidder Julie Lang, who both praised the creative writing group and the Hub for its crucial role in the community.
Julie said of writing: "If you don't get a voice, how can you ask for help?"
The audience included Hub user Herbert Hudson, who said simply having a place to come and meet fellow community members was immensely helpful.
Later in the day, the Hub was due to further celebrate its birthday with a meet and greet session.
Further information about Swindon Hub can be found at swindonhub.org.uk
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