A place of calm after the storm – new wellbeing centre for Wales

03 JUL 2020

A £34,000 grant from Allchurches Trust is helping to build a dedicated space for wellness and spiritual repair

Glenwood Church was established after the local community expressed a need for a space they could call their own. The church sits neatly on the border of two Cardiff communities, and reaches areas which are among the 10% most deprived in Wales. Some 35% of households are living in income poverty; inevitably leading to personal and social challenges, such as physical and mental health issues, isolation and a lack of aspiration and opportunities.
 
The church and community complex is doing its upmost to support the community, and motivate people of all ages. They run youth clubs, community gardening, lunch clubs, indoor bowls, classes that teach English as a foreign language and a knitting group – and that’s just a stitch of what they offer local people. The centre is also doing what it can to improve health and mental wellbeing, offering courses such as Nutrition Training, Youth Cooking and Stress Management.
 
A retreat for wellness
 
After consultation with residents and partners from across the community, such as Llan Healthcare, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Speakeasy Law Centre and Hope Trust Cardiff, mental health and wellbeing was highlighted as a key area which needed to be addressed within the community.
 
Unfortunately, Glenwood’s aging facilities were hampering growth in this area and so action was taken to ensure the church complex could effectively support those who need it most.
 
Plans were drawn up for a modern two storey annex to be added to the existing building, which will complement the rest of the church and most importantly house a wellbeing centre – a safe space for spiritual and mental reprieve.
The centre will welcome all ages and will be a place for promoting a sense of belonging, purpose and connectedness through courses and activities, ranging from art and drama sessions to therapeutic cooking. 
 
The progress so far
 
The building work began in March. However, due to COVID-19 lockdown, the site team stopped for four weeks in April. The site is now back up and running and the work is picking up pace!
 
The last few weeks have been particularly exciting for the centre, as the annex is starting to take shape.
A place of calm after the storm – new wellbeing centre for Wales
Never has the wellbeing centre been more necessary, with many people experiencing heightened levels of anxiety and depression as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
 
Deborah Tugwell, Senior Administrator for Glenwood Wellbeing Space, said: “We believe this Space will help us to do our part in meeting the tsunami of emotional, spiritual, mental health and wellbeing needs alongside the physical and practical needs that will be present when this pandemic is over.”
 
Despite the challenges of social distancing, Glenwood church has remained at the heart of the community, delivering 300 hot meals and 20 to 30 food parcels, per week, for those most in need. Not to forget their brigade of green fingered volunteers, organising a ‘Give It A Grow’ project, distributing over 150 seed packets throughout the community and encouraging people to get growing as a therapeutic activity in lockdown. The response has been spectacular, with people of all ages sharing pictures on social media of their gardening triumphs – a simple project which has planted a seed of hope.
 
Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “Mental health and wellbeing has to be at the forefront of responding to this pandemic in light of the huge toll it has taken on us individually and as a society. We are proud to support this project, which will create a dedicated space of hope and wellbeing for those who need it most.”
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