A light to guide you on your way

05 AUG 2020

New community centre in Dudley – TLC for the most vulnerable

Dudley Community Church is a growing, mission focussed community of people from across the Black Country, seeking to tackle five areas of local need – the mental health of adults; the mental health of children; the impact of homelessness; the isolation of older people; and youth and community connections.
 
In 2005, the church purchased a dilapidated pub and transformed it into the DCC Centre, used to host Heaven’s Kitchen – a space for a warming bowl of soup and a friendly smile for the most vulnerable in the community.
 
As the demand for community services rapidly increased, particularly for people suffering with mental health issues, Dudley Counselling Centre (now Lighthouse Counselling) was incorporated to support people of all ages struggling with the pressures of life.
 
The centre had become an invaluable lifeline for many of the local community, and the time had come to further develop the scope of the project.
 
An Allchurches Trust grant of £9,000 has supported the demolition and reconstruction of a shiny, new, fit-for-purpose beacon of light – The Lighthouse Centre (TLC).
 
The centre will house six dedicated counselling rooms for children and adults, a large reception area, a loft for youth activities and the Lighthouse Café - safely guiding a sea of people who are in need of a hot meal and a helping hand.
 
TLC will continue to host the existing services, including, the ‘Golden Years Community Project’, which brings together older people; youth training projects and a youth job club; and counselling services for people experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, substance abuse and loneliness. There will also be scope to expand and invite new community groups into the fold, to shed their own light.
 
After many delays as a result of lockdown, The Lighthouse Centre is on track to be handed over to Dudley Community Church this summer; a blessing for the local people, as they recover from the emotional and economic fall-out of COVID-19.
 
The church and counselling team have continued to support the community as best they can throughout the pandemic, offering a free telephone and online counselling service for those who need it. 
 
Pastor Joe Hayes, Dudley Community Church, said: “As lockdown has started to ease, we are already experiencing the after-effects of the pandemic. In one week, we had 31 self-referrals for counselling due to the emotional impact of COVID.
 
“We believe the completion of TLC in the next few weeks is timely for providing the much-needed support to help people recover. 
 
“Thank you so much to Allchurches Trust for the support. Without you this would never have been possible.”
 
TLC have made plans to launch free cooked lunches, three or more days a week, as soon as the building opens, as well as hosting a Punjabi ladies group and an event for older people living in isolation.

Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “the Lighthouse Centre couldn’t be more necessary than it is now. When it opens, it will provide welcome support for many people who have experienced great hardships throughout lockdown, helping them to bounce back and see that there is hope for the future.”
Dudley Community Centre group picture
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