JUST six months after the ribbon was officially cut, more than 20 local organisations are now part of a new community at Foundation House.

Based in Masons Road in Stratford, Foundation House is a vibrant new facility; a hub offering invaluable space to a huge range of groups, charities and organisations all working to benefit the community.

Stratford Town Trust, which runs Foundation House, has now granted space to a total of 12 groups all needing a more long-term base and all keen to be part of the new hub community; fostering partnerships, signposting services and working together to share skills and expertise.

Safeline has been granted space as part of a £117,620 multi-year funding programme, which will enable it to extend its services for survivors of sexual abuse in Stratford.

The Warwick-based charity has already helped over 50,000 people from all over the UK on their journey through sexual abuse and rape.

Space at Foundation House will enable Safeline to support many more people and extend the services it currently provides to support them in the way they need.

Liz Welsh, Head of Clinical Services at Safeline, says: “Nearly 20 per cent of all Safeline’s face to face counselling clients are based in Stratford but we know more people need our support and the new premises in the town, along with the other support Stratford Town Trust has provided, will enable us to do that. Being part of the community will help increase awareness of Safeline and the services it provides which will hopefully encourage many more people in the town and surrounding areas to access the support they so desperately need. We now have the resources to help them and access to those resources will be much easier and quicker.’’

The Stratford Ambulance Association is also being granted space. The charity provides first aid training and first aid event cover across the local area – for everything from the Shakespeare Marathon to the River Festival. But it has been struggling to find a base.

Chairman Ernie Coombes said Foundation House would give the group a new lease of life.

“It gives us the space we need for our training and we’re now hoping to grow our group and re-invent what we do, investing in new vehicles so we can help in the more rural areas as well,” he said.

Also taking up residency are the Warwickshire Army Cadet Force Stratford Detachment.

With the Reserve Centre in New Broad Street closing, the ACF needed a new home. They say the move will mean they are more integrated within the community, hopefully attracting more children, aged 12 to 17, to join.

“Foundation House has been very accommodating and keen for the Stratford Detachment to move across. We have been given office and classroom areas and a stores room for equipment. The Cadets have an area outside for Drill and Field-craft activities and the use of more classrooms and lecture rooms as and when available,” Steve Huyton, CEO for Warwickshire & West Midland (South Sector) ACF, said.

“Warwickshire ACF are very grateful. The Cadets now look forward to moving across by the end of May.”

Two more groups have also been given space; the Heart of England Woodturners, gaining a place for weekly demonstrations, and the Stratford District Radio Society, getting a valuable room for the group to meet.

They all join the existing Foundation House community, now fully operational and including: Escape Arts, Men’s Shed, Shakespeare Lions, Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project, Second Thoughts Drama Group, Welcombe Radio and Change, Grow, Live (formerly Addaction).

And it doesn’t stop there.

As well as the space being granted – more than 15 other local charities and organisations have also accessed space, hiring rooms for everything from board meetings to book clubs.

They include: Heart of England Mencap, Warwickshire Pride, Stratford-upon-Avon Art Society, Stroke Support Group, Citizens Advice, Stratford Foodbank, National Childbirth Trust, Rubbish Friends, ESH Works and Entrust Care Partnership to name but a few.

“It is great to see so many different groups using Foundation House,” Rachel Key, who now oversees Community Development & Delivery for Stratford Town Trust, based at Foundation House, says.

“Our aim is to make it easier for local people to find and use activities or services that will make their lives better. Offering organisations a base, making it easier for them to work together and kick-starting innovative new projects, helps to make this possible.

“We are excited to see more charities, local groups, social enterprises and changemakers join our growing community.”

Foundation House offers both large and small spaces over two floors, fully accessible with multiple kitchen and toilet facilities and 40 parking spaces.

For more information go to: www.foundationhouse.co.uk