What is the Wolverton Project?
To be in a stronger position to engage, equip and resource the many hundreds of individuals and families in Milton Keynes who are formerly homeless, vulnerably housed, or in danger of becoming homeless, we are pleased to announce we are planning to launch, in 2023, a new Community Support Centre in Wolverton.
Wolverton is much needed. After more than ten years of WNSMK expertise and success at Unity Park Station, we are scaling up to deliver what we see as the next evolutionary stage of our charitable activity – which looks to prevent homelessness in the city rather than just respond to it.
There are many different reasons why individuals become homeless. The truth is, if enough things go wrong and we are without support, it could happen to any of us.
Recent years have made life harder for many people who were already struggling, and we anticipate that the full extent of this impact will only become apparent in the months and years ahead. We are seeing high growth in homelessness, and more people at the point of crisis than ever before.
What will the Wolverton Centre be used for?
The facility will be a 13,000 square foot Hub that will help not only those that are currently homeless, but also to be a safe space for vulnerable families, couples and single people in the Milton Keynes and surrounding areas that are danger of losing their home or need other support.
This project is important for enabling people to embark on a new life, maintain personal stability and sustain their tenancies, thus reducing a bounce-back’ to the streets. It will also enable us to work with more landlords who are keen to partner with us to provide tenancies for people on low incomes if we can provide the wrap-around support.
What services will be offered?
The new hub will, after gauging local need, consist of a multiuser space that will include a community cafe, meeting rooms that will be used for welfare and private spaces for guests, a clothing and furniture hub, educational spaces, office accommodation for our staff, desk space for local entrepreneurs and college students that have no space at home, a wheelchair accessible commercial kitchen so culinary skills can be taught as well as basic food and barista skills for employment, medical rooms, basic triage and for visiting NHS services, along with space for occasional emergency overnight accommodation (subject to COVID and planning guidelines).
Our wide range of partner charities, such as the Foodbank, Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and more, will all be able to use the space to deliver their specialist support services too.
We intend to offer 5 programmes of support at the new Community Support Centre, which are:
1. RE-BUILD: Moving guests lives from chaos to stability: helping clients become safe and healthy. By providing emergency provision, a free café, a charity shop and a crisis support service.
2. RE-ENGAGE: Moving guests from isolation to inclusion: helping them become involved and enjoy life. Providing stimulating and engaging group activities including wellbeing workshops/events, craft, keep fit, a gardening club and a Wolverton Guest Committee.
3. RE-SKILL: Moving guests from hopelessness to being skilled and aspirational: helping them learn and achieve. By providing a basic education programme in subjects such as Maths, English, ESOL, Cookery, Science, History, budgeting and Art. We may also be able to offer work-based training in-house or run by external providers.
4. RE-START: Moving guests from a place of worklessness to being employed: helping guests find work and contribute. We could provide 1-2-1 Basic IT training, a Touch, Type, Read and Spell course, a tablet course and a Work Club.
5. NEXT STEP: Moving guests from inexperience to volunteering: helping them find value and worth. By creating a safe, productive and creative working environment to ensure they have every opportunity to learn new skills, build confidence and self-reliance through retail. Develop a personalised and beneficiary-led basic skills programme to encourage, equip and ensure that each individual has maximum choice, participation, and is empowered to take positive steps forward.
What will happen to Unity Park Station?
UPS will still remain open as a crisis centre – we know how important it is that we have a team on the ground to deliver and support those who are homeless / rough sleeping. This will not change and we are fully committed to running our crisis service from our base at UPS.
When will the Wolverton project launch?
We are aiming to open the first phase by late Spring 2023 and the final phase by summer 2023 – we envisage that the hub itself will be used by around 800 people each week
How much will it cost to build and launch this?
This is a £2.7 million fundraising campaign – we have been working with a range of charitable trusts, the National Lottery, and corporate and individual donors to start the fundraising, and will continue to build on this to reach our target.
We are incredibly grateful to have been awarded a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund, which will be used for the first phase of the project. The new building is an ideal space to make our vision a reality but currently is in a run-down condition due to its age, having been an old railway training centre. If you would like to discuss how you can support or donate to this project please contact our Fundraising Team for more information.