THE BOSS of Hucknall’s Under One Roof centre has issued a heartfelt plea to businesses and the local community — use it or lose it.
Brenda Shelbourne is chairman of the innovative project on Vine Terrace, which provides a home for voluntary groups, as well as office space and a cafe.
The not-for-profit centre was officially opened in 2004 after a long fight by hard-working volunteers to get it off the ground.
But now those at the helm are facing an even bigger battle to keep Under One Roof going.
“We could genuinely go under,” said a concerned Brenda, who is a former social worker.
“We are just about breaking even at the moment but things are tough. We really need to get the message out there to let people know what we can offer and to entice them to use this place and keep it going for the good of the town.”
Among the services housed at Under One Roof are a furniture project to help families on low income, a volunteer car scheme that offers a taxi-service to the disabled and elderly, a craft group that raises money for charity and a register office.
It is also home to Conservative MP Mark Spencer’s office, the talking newspaper ‘Townsound’, Framework, which offers support to the homeless and drug and alcohol addicts, and the Green Room cafe, which specialises in healthy meals.
But it also has office space for rent at reasonable rates to local businesses, a meeting room and a conference room. It is fully disabled-friendly and has a dedicated group of staff.
Added Branda: “We really have something to cater for everyone, including a creche. People need to know we are here and here for Hucknall.”
Under One Roof was the brainchild of Hucknall Volunteer Bureau, which was previously run from a dilapidated, vandal-plagued building within the grounds of Titchfield Park in the town. Those involved had big dreams of an umbrella centre to house many of Hucknall’s voluntary services.
In 1998, a disused former textiles factory was bought on Vine Terrace with the help of £104,000 from the National Lottery. A further Lottery grant of £253,000 and a £60,000 boost from the Tudor Trust, plus other fundraising, got the scheme up and running. It was officially opened on Friday June 18 2004.
“The building was a real mess when we first came in,” recalled Brenda, who has been in volunteering since the early 1980s.
“It was very sad. There were slippers workers used to wear, empty coffee cups and even a letter informing a staff member of redundancy!
“But hard work brought the building back to life. It has meant so much to so many people and organisations in recent years.
“It would be an absolute disaster if Under One Roof had to close.”