IT is a centre for the community in every sense of the word.

Established in 2005, St Oswald's West End Centre was initially an initiative to make use of St Oswald's church, Bradford, throughout the week for the benefit of the local community.

"One of the wardens who was at the church at that time could see the church was not being used during the week as much as she would like it to be and she didn't want it to be an empty space," explains centre manager, Christine Mann.

The church began fundraising to develop a community centre within the church but which would run independently, meeting the needs of its diverse community.

A decade later, the centre is now averaging a weekly footfall of between 100 and 170 people ranging in ages from 18 to 96.

Its success is measured in the impact it is having on the lives of those individuals who come along to this sanctuary to do all manner of things.

Courses and workshops can help them expand their knowledge; develop their computer skills and even learn about gardening and how to grow their own.

The centre is encouraging people to live healthy lives - and the evidence of this achievement is captured in the many photographs taken by local photographer, Phil Jackson, which will form part of an exhibition on July 1 celebrating the centre's success and its financial windfall - a £304,581 grant from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.

"We are absolutely thrilled and delighted," says Christine.

She says describes it as a 'can do' centre with a diverse mix of people, representing around 15 nationalities, attending weekly activities.

Support from organisations such as Henry Smith, Trident and European Social Funding over the years has helped the centre to flourish and thrive.

"We welcome everybody. We are very keen on welcoming everybody and making everybody feel they are part of the family," says Christine.

Accessible for all abilities, the centre runs four workshops every week including computer skills. "We have a range of learning opportunities. Our groups are functional, everyday useful things they learn."

Participants are encouraged to pursue their studies and are also given help looking for and preparing for jobs.

Digital isolation is another issue they are tackling.

"Digital isolation is a big thing," says Christine, referring to those without computer access who may struggle to access online forms and information.

"We also provide a range of social and interesting activities so people can come along and are less isolated; making new friends," adds Christine.

Loneliness is another widely reported issue affecting our local communities. Anyone can feel lonely - whatever their age.

Having somewhere to go during the week can help them develop informal support networks.

Christine says the centre is also helping to build resilience within the community "so they come together and be stronger as a community."

Others attending the centre have been inspired to volunteer. There is an emphasis that those using it are very much involved in running it.

The centre has also developed positive working relationships with support agencies dealing with issues such as mental health.

Christine explains talking to people in local surgeries and supermarkets helps to raise awareness of the benefits the centre brings.

She also acknowledges the organisations who have supported the centre; Arnold Laver donated wood for their community allotment and Yorkshire Building Society staff helped to dig the allotment and decorate the centre.

Says Christine: "We may be small in stature but we are very big in the impact we are making."

The centre is showcasing its success from noon until 3pm on Saturday July 1 when visitors can view Phil Jackson's photography exhibition.

Fran Holgate, community development worker, says: "Phil’s work has been inspirational and has inspired us to develop a fresh new approach to imagery and how it can capture impact and mood."

Fran and Christine are also grateful to those who use the centre for helping it to succeed. "The West End Centre would like to thank everyone who buys a lottery ticket. We feel like we have won the lottery! We would also like to say a massive thank you to all the volunteers and everyone that uses the centre because without them it is just a building."

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