Pudsey has a number of wonderful groups and charities within the town. Each month we want to shine the spotlight on one and let them tell you more about what they’re up to. This month we dropped in for a chat with the Pudsey Wellbeing Charity. Pudsey Wellbeing Charity is a social hub which provides activities for the community all run by volunteers, and is very much a treasured resource within the town.
Pudsey Wellbeing Charity began in 2013 under the name Love Pudsey. It all started when the partners at Robin Lane Medical Centre generously allowed the Charity to lease the Wellbeing Centre from them for £1 a year, a rent that still continues to this day. In return the charity recruited some wonderful volunteers to run groups for patients at Robin Lane and the wider community, many of these original volunteers are still with the charity 8 years later! The idea was that by creating spaces where people could meet friends and feel part of a community they would also find a support network and this in turn is hugely impactful on mental and physical health. This type of health care is called social prescribing and is now common practice all over the UK. Pudsey Wellbeing Charity with the support from Robin Lane was a very early pioneer social prescribing and used as a template for many other schemes across the UK and Europe.
The aims of the charity are:
We do this by offering space for local volunteers to run groups and activities for people in the community. Some of our current groups are a Youth Club, a Community Choir and a Walking Group. Anybody is welcome to attend these groups which are mostly free with a couple of groups asking for a small donation. Our volunteer programme is a place where our local community can be inspired to get involved and engage with our community. It is an opportunity for people to be creative and enables our volunteers to share their skills or life experiences, as well as being part of a friendly and supportive group.
Pudsey Wellbeing Charity is a social hub which provides activities for the community all run by volunteers.
Our volunteers! Our volunteers are truly incredible people and it would be impossible to fulfil our charitable objectives without them. Rather than using numbers and figures to decide what our community needs we do things a little differently by asking local people what they think their community needs. We asked those original volunteers if there was a group that they would like to run for the community, and come of our first groups which are still running today were Pudsey Adults with Time to Spare (PATS), the art group run by the very talented local artist Geoff Lea and Bosom Buddies breastfeeding support group which has helped hundreds of mums who wanted support from other breastfeeding mums.
When somebody comes to us with an idea of a group they would like to run we support them by talking through the idea supporting them with the initial set up and advertising their group. Once the group is up and running the staff are always there to lend support but the ownership of the group is always with the group leader and the people who attend. By working in this way it means that we have people who are very passionate about their groups and wonderful communities are created. Over the years we have had so many amazing groups run by volunteers who wanted to share their skill and experiences or just create a welcoming space for others. These groups have been life changing for the people who attend and I can’t put it better than them:
“It makes me feel uplifted, it has given me great friends, with a great feeling of belonging to a community. Even when I am feeling tired after a day’s work and really want to go home, I go to choir and everything is alright again.”
“At any age it is hard to admit to being lonely. The Wellbeing Centre is a wonderful place for people to connect to other people. You can choose as little or a much engagement as you want. Lots of friendships have developed outside the more formal arrangements of classes and groups. Certainly, I feel I would have had a much harder transition to retirement without the Wellbeing Centre.”
How could you not want to work in a place like this with these amazing people?
We are OPEN with limited numbers. We have 14 groups who have already restarted and more who are scheduled to come back in the next few weeks.
As our groups return things are still a bit different at the centre, the capacity is still limited to 2m social distancing and masked are still mandatory inside the building. We are classed as a multi-purpose building and the rules for us are different to pubs, restaurants and cafes, however our wonderful group leaders have been working with us to come up with creative solutions to ensure that their group can come back together even though the number are reduced for the time being. We are keeping up to date with all the government guidance and hope that things will get more normal in the next month or two!
In September we hope to open a new social hub for the community on our ground floor called The Open Door which will occupy the space that Café Lux used to use. Our vision for The Open Door is for anybody to be able to come into the space and either join in with an activity, have a natter with our volunteers or enjoy some time to themselves with an affordable drink! We have already got a small pool of volunteers who are going to help run a pilot in the September and hope to increase the opening hours as time goes on.
Absolutely! We are always happy to hear from people who have an idea for a group that they would like to run and we are also looking for volunteers to help run our new coffee mornings in The Open Door, please get in touch by emailing our Volunteer Coordinator Beverly Brogan on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although Robin Lane still support us by offering a peppercorn rent we still need to raise money every year to maintain our building and keep it running. Our building is a beautiful old stone building which we love but it comes with repairs and maintenance as well as simple things like raising enough money to keep the lighting and heating on! Our overall outgoings are around £100,000 per year and we are always grateful for donations whether they are regular or a one off! If you would like to donate to our charity go to our website pudseywellbeing.com.