Within the Newland shopping Centre, The Witham hub has been many things over the years, including a travel agents, cycle shop, charity shop and just before the current team took it over a centre for young people to meet up.
In November 2017 our Chair, Tina Townsend, who had been a key holder for the unit for some time, was made aware it was going to be handed back to the centre management and saw an opportunity. She had a chat with the 2nd Witham Boys Brigade, who were the leaseholders at the time, and struck up a deal to keep the hub going while the wheels where set motion. During the following year a few events were run and research carried out to see what people wanted and what was needed.
We recognised that there were very few places for groups to meet other than coffee shops and pubs that offered affordable options. We also recognised that there were very few places that our vulnerable residents could be and feel safe, so we got to work.
Our first group started on 1st September 2018, a craft group which was a great success, many more groups followed.
We started to get things organised when suddenly we were hit with a huge issue…. Boys Brigade were pulling out of the lease and we had to move fast to avoid losing the unit and its contents!
Taking on the lease was a massive risk but we were very lucky to have some amazing support from Essex County Council Strengthening Communities who sponsored us so that we could continue our work.
After carrying out a big fundraising campaign we were up and running and were official opened on 2nd May 2019 by Rt Hon Priti Patel MP.