Cambridge MP opens The Hub for Abbey community
Daniel Zeichner MP and Cambridge’s deputy mayor Alex Collis officially opened ‘The Hub’, a new community space in Abbey ward of Cambridge, on Friday (December 4).
Abbey People, which recently merged with East Barnwell Community Association, created The Hub to serve residents. The plans include a meeting room for hire, a base for community events and regular drop-ins with organisations including the NHS, Cambridge United Community Trust, Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire police.
“I was delighted to cut the ribbon to open The Hub,” said Mr Zeichner. “It is a great idea to bring together lots of organisations that can offer support with jobs, health and education right on people’s doorsteps.
“The meeting room will also be a welcome addition to community space to hire in the area. But what struck me most is the friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
“Congratulations to all at Abbey People who have worked so hard to get The Hub up and running.”
Speaking at the Barnwell Road-based site Nicky Shepherd, CEO of Abbey People, said: “The Hub is open from 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday at the moment, and we will do some weekend events and opening as required.
“We can hire a small meeting room to open groups once we’re allowed to have groups again, so it’s a place groups can meet. We’re hoping to do some coffee mornings – to meet other people, to see what’s going on, a bit like a Citizens Advice Bureau so people can come in if they need help.
“We’ve been helping people with applications – say they need to do a Universal Credit application. We’ve done a bit of printing for people that need to print official forms off.
“Also the people who do the NHS healthcare checks are hiring the space out, so they’ll be doing the over-40s where you go and get your blood pressure checked, so those can be booked in once a month.”
The Hub won’t be dispensing food.
“Not yet,” says Nicky, “but that is something ideally in the future we’d like to do, along with vaccination clinics – those types of things. A group of young people are doing regular book sales, with second-hand books out the front, and we’re hoping to get some tables and maybe in the summer we’ll be able to do café-type opening.
“It’s part-funded by the council – a council grant we get for community facilities – but we’ve also got donations from a range of funding sources.”
Abbey People is “a community charity with the vision for a healthy, happy, thriving community in Abbey”. Abbey, one of the the most deprived areas of Cambridge, has become more deprived between 2015 and 2019. Abbey People aims to develop community cohesion and support the most at-risk in this deprived area, whose community centre until now has been the local McDonalds.
“Abbey People’s work has expanded exponentially since March, and this new space will allow us to meet the extra need in our area,” concludes Nicky.
The Hub at 15 Barnwell Road is being run by Debbie Hardingham, Abbey People’s office manager.