5th November 2021

New community hub, arts space and café opens in Swindon town centre

Swindon hun is open - New Swindon Community Hub - Helen Holly and Jol Rose
New Swindon Community Hub – Helen Holly and Jol Rose

A new community hub opens this weekend in Swindon town centre, with performers, poets and pop-ups. 

Based in the former River Island building, Swindon Hub will provide a welcoming café and community arts space, areas for meetings and events. It’ll also offer pop-up stands for start-up businesses and local traders.

A group of volunteers have brought the project together. They’re all united in their aim of bringing life to the town centre and supporting communities and individuals from across Swindon. They want also to raise awareness of issues around climate and sustainability.

A long haul

‘It’s been a long haul with plenty of ups and downs. But we’re finally ready to open our doors this weekend’ says Ed Colton, one of the volunteers behind the project.

The Hub will be open daily between 11am to 6pm, and closed on Mondays. 

Poets and performers will provide entertainment throughout the opening weekend. The Hub cafe will be ready with hot drinks, sandwiches and samosas.

Celebrating the opening of Swindon Hub, there’s a special exhibition of local photographers’ images under the theme ‘Celebrating Swindon’ on display.

The Save the Oasis campaign group also have an Oasis exhibition set up there. And they also have a website all about the Oasis. For more Oasis-related writings on this blog go here.

There’s some super coverage of the exhibition in the Swindon Advertiser here.

Tony Hillier, a member of Save Oasis Swindon campaign and a volunteer at the Swindon Hub said: ‘Countless people have been through the Oasis during its 45 years and it has a fond place in their hearts.

‘Swathes of people feel a great sadness it’s shut so this is a great opportunity to celebrate until a decision has been made on its future.’

Visitors will see the original building plan sketches and black and white photographs of the building’s construction as well as Ken White’s sketches of the mural painted on the walls. The Swindon-born artist is best known for the ‘Scarlet Lady’ which features on Virgin Atlantic aircraft.

Ticket stubs from Ed Sheeran, Peter Andre, the Sugababes and Lily Allen concerts will also be on display. There is a folder dedicated to the efforts to save the venue and people can write their memories in a personalised memory book.’

Environmental ethos

Underlining the Hub’s strong environmental ethos, a special session will hear from Swindon residents who took part in the COP26 conference in Glasgow this week. Taking place at 12 noon this Satruday, the presentations and discussion will look at the global picture as well as what local action there might be.

The project also hopes to support the regeneration of Swindon’s town centre. The problem of empty shops and the need for a community space is one thing they’ll look at. One where groups and individuals can interact, exchange ideas, and share resources in a sustainable, low cost venue. 

We want the local community to be at the heart of deciding what happens at the Hub. It’s a project by the community, for the community’ said Natalie North, another of the volunteers behind the project. “We want anyone interested to pop in, have a chat or send us an email.”

You can find more information about Swindon Hub on Facebook or at  www.swindonhub.org.uk

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