NEARLY £1 million has been raised to bring a community hub to people in the new-build Wilstock and Stockmoor estates near Bridgwater.
The project was launched by Wilstockhub, a registered charity that aims to fund, build, and run the community building.
Wilstockhub was founded in 2015 by Lucinda Spelman-Ives, 61, after she became frustrated at the lack of shared facilities in the Wilstock community.
The charity’s plans for the hub include a hall and café, several community rooms, a crèche, a garden, a play area, and car parking.
After securing National Lottery funding and running activities including sports classes, tree-planting sessions, and an annual big lunch, Lucinda and a group of trustees have raised £960,000 of their £1.3 million target.
With the finish line in sight, Lucinda and the Wilstockhub team are planning their vision for the community centre with the aim of providing low-cost educational and leisure opportunities.
Plans are also in place to set up a nursery and a base for local health and social care providers, and to promote the principles of public safety, social enterprise, and sustainability.
After founding the charity, Lucinda attended the Eden Project’s Community Camp in search of advice and inspiration.
The camp aims to equip people with the skills and knowledge they need to better-connect their communities through activities, workshops, and networking.
Lucina is now encouraging more people to start making a difference where they live through the camp initiative.
Lucinda said: “Camp was the beginning of my journey. The community space was new to me at that point and I learnt so much.
“When I arrived, I didn’t know how I was going to go forward with my project, but it left me with the confidence to go forward knowing I could reach my goal.
“I’ve continued with that positivity and it’s got me through hurdles faced along the way, I’ve never looked back!
“I’d tell anyone considering it to go for it – you won’t regret it!”
Tracey Robbins, head of UK delivery at Eden Project Communities, said: “Lucinda is one of the many people around the UK who have turned their ideas for their communities into real action, and are now making life that little bit brighter, not just for their neighbours but for many others.
“Although times are hard at the moment, we know there are so many more of us out there who want to make a positive difference where we live, but aren’t sure how to get started.
“That’s why we’d love to see anyone with a bright idea they’d like to explore at Community Camp this autumn, whether it’s about improving a local green space, keeping your community connected, living more sustainably or supporting people struggling with the cost of living.
“Our camps are always full of laughter, connection and stories, with everyone leaving Eden with a confidence boost, practical ways of bringing their initiatives to life, and many new friends!”
The next Eden Project Communty Camp will be held between September 30 and October 3, made possible by the National Lottery.
Attendees will hear from inspiring speakers and join workshops on funding, engaging people, and building confidence.
They will also be encouraged to explore the Eden Project’s biomes and hear more about the charity’s mission to bring people closer to the natural world.
Applications for September’s Community Camp at the Eden Project are open, with people at any stage in their community journeys invited to apply for the programme.
For anyone keen to access support and learning opportunities that fit around their lifestyles, Community Camp will also be running as weekly, specially tailored virtual sessions over the course of three weeks in November.
For more information on how to sign up for Community Camp visit: www.edenprojectcommunities.com.