About the Organisation
The Wells Community Centre is located in the very centre of the circular Wells Estate in Epsom. There has been a community site on this space since the 1940s, but in 2015 Epsom Council took the decision to close the centre.
The Epsom Wells Community Association then formed to lobby against the closure asking for permission for the community to lease and run the centre themselves. After some protracted negotiations, the Council have now agreed to this request and offered a 125-year lease.
Further to consultation with the local community, planned uses for the reopened centre include:
- Coffee shop – run by volunteers, trainees and paid staff
- Elderly lunch club plus act as a multi-generational space
- Much requested co-working space and focal point in the community
- Wellbeing services – fitness classes, Forest school etc
- Space hire for local groups, services
- Location of the local ‘Men Shed’, school groups, University of 3rd Age, a nursery/ crèche facility and craft facilities
- Provide a playground on site and a local ‘History Wall’ with it being so close to Epsom well.
The project has the backing of local councillors within Surrey County. And, as the neighbouring borough does not have a community centre, it is also likely they will begin using the Epsom Wells Centre once open, making it even more important as a local hub.
EWCA have successfully applied for planning permission for a change of use and are in the latter stages of completing the legal aspects of taking over the building.
Some refurbishment is required to bring the premises back into use. Fundraising for this has commenced and is ongoing, both within the local population and through application to various grants.
The association are now at the point where they require professional advice to assist with their plans. In particular, with regard to the layout of the planned café space and maintenance issues that have arisen during the five years that the building has been unoccupied.
To enable them to fully open in time to fulfil the requirements of their lease and deliver all of the services above, they need to start generating revenue to pay for refurbishments ASAP or risk losing the centre. They would therefore be grateful for offers of pro bono support with one or all of the following:
- Interior Architecture/Design for the café and kitchen area
- Cost estimations for the work associated with the refurbishment of the café and kitchen area
- Engineering advice regarding a complete overhaul of the heating system
Establishing this work will enable EWCA to move forward with their fundraising efforts and bring them a step closer to reopening the community hub that they have fought so hard to save.