A community hub, arts heritage gallery and community centre; three new facilities for the people of Stratford made possible thanks to our £1m CommYOUnity Challenge.
The three schemes were announced as the winners of the £1m challenge at the Touch FM Pride of Stratford Awards back in February 2014.
And two years later - all three are open and benefiting the community.
The Stratford Samaritans were awarded the largest share of the £1million pot –some £420,000. This was to make their vision for a 'community hub' operating from one single point in Stratford and providing a range of support to vulnerable members of the community - a reality.
And now it is.
Stratford-upon-Avon Samaritans Community Hub opened its doors at Tyler House in early 2016, following the complete transformation of the building. It now offers modern, bright, flexible – and crucially affordable – office and event space which can be hired by any organisations needing a base in the town, whether that’s permanent or a one-off. As well as providing this critical affordable space to others, Tyler House is also the new home of Stratford Samaritans, moving from their existing Victorian terrace in Shakespeare Street after 21 years.
For the full story on Tyler House please click here
The second charity to win big on the night was Escape Arts – awarded a huge £340,000 to open The Old Slaughterhouse Arts & Heritage Studio in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon in May 2015.
Three exhibitions have been put on so far: the opening exhibition about Henson’s butchers and the Slaughterhouse site; ‘Yesterday and Today’ about the old shops which surrounded the yard and a third exhibition on Christmas. The Slaughterhouse has received lots of archive material which is being collated, recorded and digitised ready for the development of an interactive web archive and app. The project has also developed the VIP group, Veterans and Interesting Pensioners. This is a volunteer-led group supporting older people, where Escape provides brunch and an opportunity to chat. Other local groups are now using the Slaughterhouse as a venue: the building has been hired for theatre rehearsals and a programme of adult arts workshops as well as other events. To date, the Slaughterhouse has had 1773 visitors.
Go to Escape's website for more information - or read our news from the opening for the full background.
The final winner was Stratford Athletics Club, crossing the CommYOUnity Challenge finish line with a £240,000 award.
This was used to build the Community Athletics Pavilion - a joint project between the club and Stratford-upon-Avon School.
The single-storey building has been built next to the existing athletics track on the school site in Alcester Road; a community base for meeting, training and learning, creating a unique, flexible facility in South Warwickshire, designed to draw in and support healthy living activities for local people of all ages and abilities.
The centre is used by the club, school and wider community - available for all to hire.
Stratford Town Trust launched its £1m CommYOUnity Challenge - offering a share of a £1 million pot to schemes aimed at providing a lasting legacy for the town - at the start of 2013.
More than 70 applications were received and whittled down to a final 9.
Detailed applications were then submitted and judged by a panel, made of up of Town Trust staff and trustees, as well as local businessmen, councillors, Stratford’s MP and pupils from two Stratford schools.