A NEW facility in one of the town’s historic buildings is set to open in the summer, providing assistance to residents most in need.
Work began on converting Sanford House into a new Swindon Advice and Support Centre, which will be an information hub for adult health, well-being and social care.
Organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Shop-mobility and the Swindon Advocacy Movement will be just some of the groups which will be housed at the 130-year-old building.
Work started last year and it is hoped the building will be finished by May with a public opening the following month.
The overall office space will be managed by Voluntary Action Swindon which says the service will be a huge benefit to those in need.
David Wray, the Chief Executive Officer, said: “To have every service all under one roof will help the most vulnerable people in Swindon.
“They will be able to walk in, explain the help they need, and then they can be sent in the right direction.
“Sanford House is ideally located in the town centre for people who have previously been used to moving to different locations as well as being close to the council offices and bus station.
“I think a few places have lots of services under one roof and I am certain people will find it a huge benefit.”
In total ten organisations have signed up for a place, including Swindon Health Watch and the Richmond Fellowship, with a number of others still in negotiation.
On top of that, while not being based there, other groups will work out of Sanford House.
The former school, which is about 130 years old, was the creation of architect Brightwen Binyon who designed, among other things, the town hall in Regent Circus, and the 1892 additions to the Mechanics’ Institute in the Railway Village.
In recent years it was an office for the department’s central planning and senior officers, until they all moved to Wat Tyler West, on the main civic campus in December 2012.
In total £350,000 has been invested with the money coming from the now-defunct Primary Care Trust and the council.
The council’s Deputy Leader Coun Brian Mattock said: “This is a positive move for everyone and something which will help us work together with the third sector to provide vital services to people who need it.
“I am sure they will welcome having so many organisations in one place to help when they are probably in town anyway.
“The organisations in the building will benefit by being able to work together and as a council we will be able to reduce our building maintenance costs.
“This is a win-win-win situation and it is fantastic to be able to bring such a historic building back into use.”
Alongside the building opening will be the launch of a new ‘MyCareMySupport’ website, which will list all the local services which are available for people with adult health and wellbeing needs.
The website is not online yet but should soon after Sanford House re-opens.