Bridging a gap in the community

Next month sees the opening of South Brighton’s vibrant new community centre, The Bridge Hub.

Several years of planning and fundraising, and hundreds of hours of voluntary work have gone into transforming what was once a former church, on Bridge Street, South Brighton, into a multi-use community centre.

The driving force behind the hub, The Bridge South Brighton Trust (TBSBT) is a charitable trust formed by local volunteers to convert what was originally an ‘as-is where-is’ earthquake-damaged former church.

Trust Chair Lisa Tregenza says the new community centre is a stunning state-of-the-art building, which has been made possible through the hard work of a passionate and committed board of trustees, with the wonderful support of the locals.

“Tenacity and resilience are attributes that we see in this area, and this drive has carried the project from a vision to a reality. We are thrilled to see this building come to life as a central point for the community to gather, connect, share, learn, grow and feel welcome. We are excited to now bring the most important element to this project and that is you, the community.”

She adds that being able to offer affordable and accessible activities and workshops, for all ages and stages, is a big part of the trust’s vision.

“There will be a focus on tools to support mental and physical health and we see this as essential for a healthy and vibrant community. We welcome in partners and funders to support us with this offering”.

Project Coordinator Stephen Langridge, says the South New Brighton community lost a lot of shops and a community meeting hall during the 2011 earthquake sequence.

“This project is about replacing those amenities with Whare Wananga – a place for the community to gather.”

The Bridge Hub’s mission is to be a vibrant hub bringing together community spirit and wellbeing by providing space for activities, kai, conversation, learning and healing.

It contains four distinct places to support its mission:

• Community Hall – Te Kotahitanga
• Wellness Centre – Te Oranga
• Gallery – Te Awhina.
• Cafe, courtyard & co-working space – Umu

Community Hall
From concerts and performances to yoga and art classes or a theatre performance, this will be the place for it. With a room capacity of up to 160 people, and amazing acoustics, the vision for the hall includes hosting community theatre, concerts, movie nights, and activity classes.
Also on the list are after-school activities, music lessons, concerts and even Sunday afternoon music sessions.

Cafe and courtyard
One of the main attractions of the new hub is its people-friendly café and courtyard. Be in the sun (or shade) with a group of friends, neighbours and/or family, and enjoy a caffe latte, a chicken panini or a nice cool drink. With space for 50 customers inside and more outside in the courtyard, it’s a great destination for weekend mingling. Of note is the beautiful cafe furniture, upcycled from the original church pews by the MenzShed.
Looking ahead, plans are also to use the café & courtyard for night classes for healthy food preparation skills.

The Co-Working Office
The Co-working Office is within the cafe, offering a quieter space to work on projects or collaborate with others.

The Gallery
The Gallery is the place where we will showcase local artists works. There is so much talent out there we wanted to make sure we dedicated space to present these works of art created in the community.

The Wellness Centre
The Wellbeing Rooms provide a quiet place with private rooms for health practitioners and counsellors to provide support and to help strengthen the local community.

The centre is due to be opened in March 2022 with a blessing and official opening. Public open days are planned to showcase the new community hub.
Stay tuned for the dates.

Connect on: Facebook @thebridgesouthbrighton
51 Bridge Street, South Brighton.

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