RESIDENTS in Stoke Prior who were told their community hub must close because it was unfit for purpose are celebrating after a new centre for them was built, thanks to Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (bdht) and Coun Chris Bloore.
Back in September last year The Standard highlighted the plight of the residents who live in Priory Avenue who used The Shac – a portable cabin – for bingo, craft nights and fund-raisers for numerous charities, including Help for Heroes, Cancer Research and Macmillan coffee mornings.
The women, all aged from 58 to 84, called on bdht to replace the building which had become structurally unsafe and, towards the end of last year, the housing trust agreed.
After receiving funding from bdht and Coun Bloore, a new building was opened last Friday (May 13), with cream teas served to all local residents in celebration, as well as a new shed, fridge and microwave being provided.
The new building has a main meeting area, separate kitchen and toilet facilities all to disability design standards.
A brand new private and secure garden area has been included within the new layout to enable residents to hold outdoor meetings and sunny weather.
The overall management and upkeep will be undertaken by bdht but the day-to-day running and timetable of activities will be led by the residents. bdht will be on-site every Friday between midday and 2pm for a drop in session including Sheltered Living Team surgeries where advice will be on hand for those who want it.
Ashlea Green, bdht’s sheltered living services manager, said: “We were really disappointed when we had to close the former Shac but after a lot of hard work and financial partnership from bdht and Coun Bloore, we are pleased to see this new replacement community hub open again.
“We are happy to be able to provide this important facility, which enables the local community to come together and hope that the people of Stoke Prior will enjoy many happy times in the new Shac.”
Coun Bloore added: “After talking to local residents it became clear how much they value The Shac and I’m delighted to have been able to use my divisional funds to work directly with Mike Brown, Chief Executive at bdht, to ensure its future.
“Mike and bdht are committed to supporting residents in Bromsgrove and I am delighted that I have been able to play my part in ensuring local residents keep this vital community service.”