Swindon’s town centre community hub opened its doors two years ago this week.
Over 20,000 visitors and more than 45 community groups have used the centre - holding meetings and events, running workshops and training sessions, or just popping in to relax, read and have a hot drink.
To mark its second anniversary, the Hub is launching a new book - Words from the Hub - written by people who have attended the creative writing group held there every Wednesday morning.
The book launch will be at 10.30am on Wednesday 8th November. Later that day, from 4 to 7pm, there will be a meet-and-greet where everyone will be welcome to come and explore the Hub and meet the volunteers that make it tick. Live music and Indian cuisine will be on offer.
Words from the Hub will be the first book published by the Hub. Sharon Thomas, founder of the creative writing group, said: “Creative writing is therapeutic, cathartic, healing and sometimes just fun. Each one of us has creative abilities - somehow we often forget that”.
The book is being published with support from ARTSWORDS, a Swindon-based programme to promote literature, run by Lower Shaw Farm in partnership with Arts Council England and Swindon Borough Council.
After two years in action, the Hub is now keen to find out what more it could offer - as well as to celebrate everything that has been achieved. Charity trustee Martin Thompson said that the meet-and-greet evening was a chance to get together, talk about new ideas as well as enjoy past successes.
Thompson told us he wants to chat to as many people as possible to get their ideas.
“Our meet and greet session on Wednesday 4th November will be a great chance to talk to people who want to get involved. We have lots of regulars who will be there - and we’re hoping the live music and Indian food will encourage people to come in for the first time. We want to hear from them too,” Thompson said.
Swindon Hub opened its doors in November 2021 after nearly a year of planning and organising by a group of volunteers, all committed to seeing a town-centre space where people could relax, learn, share ideas and create change.
The Hub has been run completely by volunteers. One of the volunteers involved since the first meeting, Jol Rose, said that it was both a challenge and massive achievement to have done so much in two years, without any full-time staff.
“The Hub volunteers are its lifeblood. They make the place tick, but each of us gets so much from being involved - new friends, new skills - it’s a great experience all round,” he said.
Pearl Barcoe has volunteered at the Hub since it opened, helping to coordinate events and running all the Hub’s social media. “It’s been wonderful to see the Hub grow and develop - we’re happy that events like Vegan Fair, Paint Fest and Swindon Open Studios have chosen to make the Hub their base for town-centre activities” she said.
As well as providing a place for relaxation and support in the town centre, the project aims to promote the regeneration of Swindon’s town centre, targeting the problem of empty shops with new community-focussed activities.
“We are currently looking for a second space to take on - to help expand our activities and make sure we have security for the future,” chair of the Hub trustees Hazel Newson said. “Hopefully we’ll find another space in the town centre that needs the Hub magic.”
Swindon Hub can be found at 36 The Parade. Anyone wanting more information or not able to attend in person can contact the Hub at [email protected]
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