Volunteers' joy as Wigan community hub gets long-term deal
The team of volunteers who turned an old council building into a community hub has been given a long-term deal to run the venue.
The group behind The One House in Aspull, led by Karen Caffrey, has successfully bid for a community asset transfer to take over the building.
Other news: Wigan cocaine ring swoop leads t hefty jail termsKaren originally came up with the idea after feeling there was not enough help in the area while her son David, who sadly took his own life after suffering serious mental illness, was living at home.
However, during the set-up and a six-month trial period the former women’s centre on Haigh Road has started providing everything from free training courses for people on benefits to groups combating social isolation to professional advice sessions.
Wigan Council’s portfolio holder for communities Coun Chris Ready gave the group at The One House the good news of the five-year contract on Friday and has offered his full backing.
Karen said: “There was tough competition to get hold of the building but we did it and that is fantastic.
“The committee and all the volunteers have worked so hard and now we’re looking to the future.
“We’ve got plenty of plans for different services and we’d like to get the building redecorated too. We’ve also become a registered charity.
“People have told us how the centre has made their lives better because if they didn’t come here they wouldn’t speak to another adult. I think this place is vital.
“When we presented our case to the council we were very nervous but they were really nice and we felt positive. There were businesses bidding but we said that we in Aspull need this building to be our hub.
“It’s now onwards and upwards and I hope it goes from strength to strength.”
Karen says one of the biggest projects she is hoping to launch soon at The One House is a mental health cafe in partnership with Wigan organisation Imago.
Other plans include an official opening event for the community and a summer fair while activities there range from short courses giving teaching assistant qualifications to podiatry clinics to knit and natter groups making clothes for premature babies.
The One House will also now apply for council funding under The Deal.
Coun Ready, who is also a ward councillor for Aspull New Springs Whelley, said: “The council could have gone down other avenues but this fits with our ethos of promoting people doing things in their communities.
“People know better than us what they need in their area. We have a lot of trust in the team at The One House and I’m sure they will deliver.
“Karen and her committee have an amazing passion for what they do. They’ve got all the attributes and we will provide as much support and input as they want.”
The asset transfer success was celebrated with a special Aspull-themed cake.
Coun Ready said he hoped to look into transport links between the venue and the rest of the ward.
To find out more search for ‘One House’ community centre on Facebook, email [email protected] or ring 01942 665770.