How we plan to re-open and run the Wells Social Centre in the event of our gaining control of this purpose-built and modern building is now of major consideration for the Epsom Wells Community Association.
While Epsom’s Residents’ Association council painted Wells finances as being pretty bleak, new thinking in how the centre can be run and made very welcoming in future is now necessary. This includes a very serious approach to the efficient marketing of what the Wells centre has to offer. This was all but absent when under RA control.
Great benefits of this centre include its size and position. These factors alone allow for many different activities to be carried out at the same time, both indoors and outdoors.
There is simply no doubting, too, that this centre really did attract a huge attendance. And it would do so again in the right hands.
Ensuring that we establish a bedrock of basic income, enough to fund the running costs of the centre, is an absolute priority. How many new mothers would love a pre-school to return? Previously, that occupied the downstairs from Monday to Friday.
Most social centres are at present closed due to Covid. However, high hopes for an exciting post-Covid world are now emerging.
Massive scope to bring in new activities
Existing social centres in other areas could hold some clues in pointing out possible themes for services and events which can be included in a new Wells programme.
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council runs social centres. Its Woodhatch Centre in Reigate had been offering hot and cold food in its Down The Hatch Cafe. Also onsite had been a hairdressing service, podiatrist and beauty therapist. Added events had included lessons in tai chi, IT and iPad use.
Pre-covid, Hampton Hill’s Greenwood Community was offering events such as Flexicise for the over-50s, Knit and Natter, men’s club, higher self-meditation, guitar club, indoor carpet bowls, yoga, singers and songs, school of dance and even a police liaison group.
The Vyne, managed by Woking Borough Council, had a Best Foot Forward walking group. Our social centre is in a wonderful position to become the base for walking and jogging clubs, with a welcoming cafe at the end when the kitchen – taken away by the RA – has been restored…
Years of austerity have robbed us of much of what was free in previous years. However, the Edwards Woods Centre in Hammersmith and Fulham had been able to offer parenting classes in its Confident Parent Happy Child programme.
St. Catherine’s Village Hall in Guildford offers many of the more usual events such Pilates, an art class, textile group, a bridge club and it hosts a hard of hearing club, too.
A more exotic offering had been Chi Gung, the Chinese healing exercises which cultivate life energy systems to maintain good health in mind, body and spirit. This involves slow and standing movements and is not a martial art.
The Wells Social Centre has hosted a massive number of different events and classes over the years. The scope for holding these again, plus new events, is now even greater.
Re-opening when Covid dies
Sadly, the Wells is not the only old-established social centre to have been closed. For instance, Camden’s recently shut Kingsgate Community Association had been running in a number of forms for over 100 years. In some ways, it was an inner city mirror of our Wells Social Centre.
However, as we exit the horrific events of Covid, there is going to be a whole new world opening up. Then, surely, we will all want to be gathering again in the Wells Centre – especially if it is under our own control!
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