Our vision for the Mead Centre is that it should be in the centre of the town and at the heart of the community, a place where all will feel safe and experience a generous welcome, and where positive relationships will be built, social injustice challenged and lives enhanced.
Our vision statement declares that the Mead Centre will be a unique space at the centre of Newport Pagnell that has been created by the United Reformed Church in partnership with the wider community.
Our state of the art, multipurpose building will be a welcoming space for individuals, clubs, families, businesses and other community groups to gather in. The vision for the Mead Centre is to be a place of community in which to meet, celebrate, learn, grow, share and make a difference, making it possible to transform lives and enrich society.
Our vision for the Mead Centre is that it should be accessible to everyone in the community, raising awareness, understanding and active participation. It will be vibrant, joyful, adaptable and spontaneous; it will be shaped by those who use it.
Our understanding of mission opportunities which might be offered through the Mead Centre has expanded considerably throughout the planning and developmental stages of this project. Initial ideas focused on the need for a warm, waterproof, multi-use, high quality, fully accessible, energy efficient building with a sensory room for use by children and vulnerable adults with special needs; through conversations with potential users the vision has become far more expansive with a much clearer commitment to those who are often disregarded or discarded and a determination to focus on the needs of the many groups of people in Newport Pagnell and beyond who feel isolated or excluded and to work in partnership with others to help create a more just, equitable and inclusive world.
Initial ideas were for a relatively conventional community centre providing space for local voluntary sector groups and organisations; through conversation and engagement with others this has evolved into the idea of a centre with those traditionally on the margins at its heart, a place where all are given the opportunity to live life in all its fullness, where unexpected relationships can develop and flourish.
Although Newport Pagnell does not figure highly in indices of deprivation tables, there are nonetheless significant challenges facing its people and it is their issues and the issues faced by others in the wider community that the Mead Centre will try to address:
The sense of loneliness and isolation experienced by many people from children and young people to the frail elderly
The lack of opportunities for children and young people with complex needs and for children with life limiting conditions
The needs of disengaged young people and those struggling with the stresses in their lives including concerns about gender and sexuality and the use of self-harm
Opportunities for a dementia hub to complement the town’s strategy for Newport Pagnell to be a dementia-friendly town
The need for support networks and activities meeting the particular circumstances of foster carers
The lack of existing support networks for men concerned about their mental health and the substantial risk of suicide in men under 50
A lack of office and meeting space for individuals interested in developing their own social businesses
Opportunities to challenge food poverty, particularly amongst children, and address food waste in partnership with local businesses
Those involved in developing the Mead Centre are very aware that there are organisations actively engaged in providing activities and resources to meet the needs of a wide range of local people including the Brooklands centre for those who are retired and the Youth Club for young people; it is not our intention to try to duplicate or replicate these services but to try to fill in some of the gaps and develop activities and resources for those people who are not currently served or supported. Initial conversations with groups and individuals would suggest there is ample scope for the development of a full range of activities and resources in addition to the organisations committed to returning once the new centre has been opened; the challenge may be to accommodate all those wishing to use the building whilst retaining a bias towards those who are ‘on the edge’.