Plan being explored to tackle long-term health and inequality

A new centre for people to get face-to-face friendly help is being considered as part of Plymouth’s plans to tackle long term problems of health and social inequality.

Talks are currently underway to create a new community hub that will help people access a wide range of services all under one roof. It could include mental health support, training opportunities, counselling, money advice as well as meeting and event space for community groups and adult learning.

Plymouth City Council is working with the charity Shekinah on the idea and they are currently looking at Stonehouse Creek Community Centre as a possible location.

John Hamblin, Chief Executive of Shekinah Mission said: “We are at very early stages and we need to see if the building is right for this idea.

“Ideally we would like a place where different organisations from health and social services to police, education and the voluntary sector can work together to support those who need help and to make a difference.”

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Housing and Co-operative Development said: “We are at an extremely early stage of discussion but Shekinah has a great track record of helping people when they need it.

“We all know from the coronavirus pandemic that people are often desperate for help, be it mental health advice, debt counselling - whatever issues they are facing, we want to make it easier for them to get help and guidance on their door step.”

While Shekinah are best known for their work with the homeless, discussions around the centre do not include temporary or permanent accommodation as the city has provision elsewhere and will not use any proposed community facilities at Stonehouse Creek for people to live in on either a short or long term basis.

Plymouth City Council own Stonehouse Creek Social Club building which has been largely empty for over three years. Stonehouse Sharks Rugby Club have an arrangement to use the changing facilities within the building and we would like to make it very clear that there are no plans to change this.