Portishead community hub nears completion
- Credit: Tracey Fowler
A safe, welcoming meeting place for everyone in Portishead looks set to open in the next few months.
Portishead Methodist Church, in High Street, began exploring plans to utilise the building to serve the community in 2018 and the vision to redevelop the ground floor into an inclusive community hub was revealed in 2019.
Since then, the build of a community coffee shop with a state-of-the-art kitchen, meeting and therapy rooms and a seated courtyard began in February and the new community meeting place, The Beacon Hub, looks set to open in September or October.
Reverend Nick Moxon from Portishead Methodist Church said the idea started by needing another toilet in the church building, which then developed into a vision of a large community hub offering a safe space for anyone of any age in Portishead, where people can ‘just be’.
He added: “This has been a nearly three-year project in the making - it’s been emotional.
“The Beacon Hub is for everyone. Older, isolated people, parents with young families, children and young people and anyone passing by.
"We’re planning on having talking groups, grief cafés and music therapy at the The Beacon Hub, which will have links to our hall upstairs in the Wesley Centre."
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In March, The Beacon 40 fundraising group was formed, which launched a £40,000 fundraising appeal to repay the loan for the project.
To raise money for the vision, the Win The Portishead Bell campaign, where people can win a replica of Portishead’s Battery Point Bell, kicked off in June, which has toured all over the town and involves local businesses and venues.
The reproduction of the bell has been handcrafted by John Osborne, a local craftsman who recently appeared on BBC 2’s Saved and Remade, and the winner of the replica bell will be announced on Saturday at 11am in the High Street front lawn of Portishead Methodist Church.
The Rev Moxon added: “We’ve had a great response from the community for our vision and we’ve applied for funding to employ a café manager, who is set to run the hub and work alongside community volunteers at The Beacon Hub.
“We will also have trained listeners for the lonely, the bereaved, or those that just need signposting for further help, especially as many people who come through our doors will have been profoundly affected by Covid.
“The Beacon Hub reflects our vision to be a light in Portishead High Street and the hub is here to shine a light into our lives.”