The Frankie Howerd OBE Trust
The Trust has secured planning permission to turn the Old Blacksmith’s Shop in
Loxton into a Community Hub. When complete, The Hub will serve twelve villages
and hamlets in the rural area that surrounds it.
Rural isolation is a rapidly increasing problem in many parts of the UK. In the local area in which the FHT works the fastest growing age group is 90+ followed by the 80+ group. At the same time services which help the elderly have rapidly diminished. Bus services have been taken off, village shops and post offices have closed down.The lack of local services and support has meant many elderly people have been forced to leave their country homes, where most have lived all their lives, for towns where they are strangers. 25% of over 65s living in the area live alone making loneliness a major issue.
Essentially the Frankie Howerd Trust wants The Hub to enable people to feel confident about continuing to live in their rural homes as long as possible. The Hub could therefore provide a cafe and kitchen; to provide meals, a community room; where a range of activities can be organised, a shop; stocked with basic items, a bar; where people can meet, relax and socialise, a community bus; to mobilise residents from their homes to The Hub and to nearby towns, a handyman service; to make simple repairs or just change light bulbs and batteries, I.T. access and cash facilities and anything else the community considers helpful. Eventually a Community Care Assistant could be based at The Hub.
The Hub will be run by The Trustees of the Frankie Howerd OBE Trust under its charitable status. The Trust plans to employ a full time manager whose job it will be to coordinate all aspects of The Hub, including paid and voluntary staff. The manager will also be responsible for seeing that all legal issues criteria are met.
The site of The Hub and the Old Blacksmith’s which will become the Shop,Office and Bar
It is estimated that The Trust will need to raise £250,000 to pay for the necessary construction work and fitting-out costs. It will approach a wide ranging, large number, of grant-making trusts which have indicated a willingness to support initiatives that will help rural communities deal with diminishing services, isolation and loneliness and mobility issues that seriously affect the elderly. Once in operation, The Hub will look to gain income from passing trade. Situated in the Mendip Hills AONB The Hub is on a main route for tourists and cyclists between Weston and Cheddar and is on the West Mendip Way for walkers. Profits from the Cafe, Shop and Bar will be used to meet the running costs of The Hub. The Trust will also be running its own fund-raising campaign and will be looking to the local community for support.
The Trust wishes to form a hub steering group and would like to hear from those who feel they have skills, expertise, experience and time to help this exciting project become a reality. Our patron, Joanna Lumley OBE said, “It will become a jewel at the heart of the community” and The Trust very much hope her words become true.
Project management, finance, accounting, legal, media, PR, communication, I.T. and fund raising are all areas with which The Trust would welcome help. People are busy so we do not envisage holding meetings. Communication will be via the internet with people applying their help from home. If you feel you can play a part in bringing The Frankie Howerd Hub to fruition, please contact us via the details given on the back page.