Transformation of former bank helped Wigan group thrive during Covid-19
The organisation took over the Market Street site as it had needed more space in addition to that at its first location at Hindley Business Centre.
While the process of transforming the old bank was made more difficult due to Covid-19 pressing on with getting the building open paid immediate dividends as Thrive CIC was able to offer more support to service users and their families who found coping with Covid-19 extremely tough.
Thrive CIC director Sam Broxton said: “Moving into the bank took longer than we thought because businesses had to close and people doing the work couldn’t attend, but we got there and it has been amazing.
“We’ve been able to have all the people back with us at the service with social distancing. We’re running things very differently but we are making things as fun as we can.
“For a lot of the people who come to us and their families this has been a really difficult time. Without the bank we would have really struggled. It has meant we have been able to offer a service in a safe way.”
Thrive CIC has concentrated on making going to the new facility as enjoyable as possible, leaving the stress of living in a pandemic behind as soon as service users cross the threshold.
When lockdown was on the not-for-profit organisation went mobile, going to service users’ homes and cheering them up by donning fancy dress.
Sam said one service user who loves Marvel comics was left with a beaming smile despite the difficulties of having to stay at home when he found Batman and Superman standing outside his home one day.
Another memorable moment over the summer involved Thrive CIC doing Tai Chi in someone’s garden.
The team also came up with Thrive Drive, a bus which was converted into a place for one-to-one Covid-secure sessions and which was decked out in different themes.
The bus is still very much in use and has been turned into a Christmas grotto for the festive period which will be going out to service users and their family as well as people in the community.
There will be singers, a snow machine and gifts on board as Thrive CIC spreads as much festive fun as it can.
Sam said: “Hopefully it will be a magical Christmas, because we know it’s also going to be very difficult for many.”
Thrive’s new location is pretty much unmissable as it also has the beautiful floral display thanking NHS staff and other key workers which was displayed in the Friends of the Cherries Community Garden in Swinley over the summer.
The front of the building also gets a makeover for certain important times of the year, with a bright and colourful Christmas display currently in place but more sombre occasions such as Remembrance Day also being commemorated.
Sam said: “The flowers are fantastic and the Friends group couldn’t keep them there so we’ve brought them to Hindley to make people smile as they pass by.”
For Sam one of the biggest advantages of having the old bank in addition to the business centre is that it puts Thrive CIC right in the middle of Hindley.
The organisation has wasted little time in getting to know other businesses and groups around and is keen to play its role in bringing people together as well as letting more of the borough know about its work.
It is hoped that work will continue in the New Year with a formal opening of the new building, which has been impossible this year due to Covid-19. Sam said: “We really want to invite the community to come to us and see what we do.
“We’re right in the middle of Market Street now and we want to get people on board with us.
“We’re really thankful to everyone in the Hindley community for welcoming us. We’ve had so many businesses call in, they have just been brilliant. We’ve been doing things like helping the local pharmacy paint their outside board.
“People have been really supportive and seem excited we’re there. We’re very excited for the New Year to keep working with people and getting to know the community.”
To find out more visit www.facebook.com/Thrivecichindley/
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