ONE of Swindon town centre’s historic buildings, Sanford House, will begin a new lease of life as the new Swindon Advice and Support Centre, when it officially opens today.
Designed to help local people in most need, the centre will see a number of organisations who specialise in providing information, advice and support come together under one roof in an easily accessible location for residents.
The transformation of the building began last year, supported by an investment of £350,000 funded jointly from Swindon Council and the Swindon Clinical Commission-ing Group.
Voluntary organisations have worked as part of a project team to lead on the design and development of the centre to ensure it provides the best possible environment for their clients.
Councillor Brian Mattock said: “This is a great example of the council working in new and different ways to support residents.
We have made use of an historic building and developed a facility in partnership with the voluntary sector which works well for all of the agencies and, most importantly, for the people those agencies support.”
Organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Swindon Advocacy Movement are among those already operating from the 130-year-old building.
The overall office space will be managed by Voluntary Action Swindon (VAS), which thinks the centre is a huge improvement and people will benefit from having a range of services in one place.
David Wray, VAS chief executive officer, said: “They will be able to walk in, explain the help they need, and see the right people as quickly as possible.”
Other organisations already in the centre include Richmond Fellowship, Derventio Housing Trust and Developing Health & Independence Swindon.
Wiltshire Law, Healthwatch Swindon, Swindon Carers and Swindon Mind are set to move in over the next few weeks.
Claire Newport, chief executive of Swindon and District Citizens Advice Bureau, believes the centre will provide an invaluable service.
She said: “Having up-to-date facilities makes it so much easier to provide support.”
Alongside the physical opening of a building, people can also access a wealth of information online thanks to a new website, www.mycaremysupport.co.uk, which is now live. The website is designed to provide comprehensive information and a directory of services for people with adult health and wellbeing needs.