WHAT IS THE MEAD CENTRE? IS IT JUST A BUILDING PROJECT OF THE CHURCH? OR IS IT MORE? HERE’S A FLAVOUR OF THE VISION…
Imagine a space being used by children with life limiting conditions for a stay and play session, accessing the sensory room and using the fully accessible changing facilities. A safe space that enables fun and joy plus support for parents and carers and a building of relationships for mutual support. At the same time, in a small room, a group of men are meeting; they have begun to discuss how mental health affects their ability to work in their high powered work environment where vulnerability is seen as weakness. And yet they have identified that they are not coping- because of the work setting, the societal expectations and the unfair demands they are putting on themselves. And this is affecting their home life and their relationships. The young person who is on work experience in the Mead Centre from a local education provider for vulnerable students has welcomed the centre users, set up the tables and opened the sensory room, and is now helping to serve tea and coffee. Later on he will clear up, make sure everything is tidy and clean and welcome the over 60s disco dancing group who hire the main hall once a month; disco dancing brings back memories and helps mobility and gives everyone a good sense of wellbeing. Meanwhile in the entrance a young mum and a retired gentleman are having a coffee made in the upstairs kitchenette; for both of them it is a welcome break- she because her two children have fallen asleep in the pushchair and this is a great chance to sit down and have a drink and a chat with someone and for him it is good to get out of the house and actually have a face to face conversation with a human being. They met each other at the community meal a few weeks ago and when they bumped into each other again in the High Street, they suggested a catch up chat in a familiar space. What comes out of their conversation is an interest in how to deal with the growing problem of food waste. She is concerned about the future of things for her children and his driver is his grandchildren’s health and wellbeing. They resolve to speak to the Mead Centre manager and see if conversations can begin about looking to use the space to support an initiative that encourages using up surplus food instead of throwing it away. Maybe that is an idea for a future community meal? Upstairs a small business owner is hiring one of the rooms as she has outgrown her home office. She appreciates the facilities in the room, the reasonable rates, the fact it is just off the High Street and the fact it is flexible and can fit around her changing demands for space.
On the noticeboard in the entrance is a list of all the events for the month- Scouts, Cubs, Beavers, Brownies, older folks keep fit, Zumba, a youth group, drama club, a Muslim women’s group and other regular bookings. There is also a signposting area- giving information about other groups in Newport Pagnell: the Children’s Centre, Brooklands, the Youth Club, as well as support groups in Milton Keynes for mental health, breastfeeding support, a group working with those who are struggling with gender identity and local LGBTQ groups. There is a list of community events- meals, discussions on local issues, a support group for parents of toddlers and teens, health and wellbeing sessions and meditation.
The Mead Centre has become a place of activity and interest, support and care. It is a place where conversations begin and actions happen. It is a place that people are welcomed and known. It is a place where hirers know the space is clean and tidy and safe, it is a place where regular users know where everything is and where new users can find things easily. It is a place of welcome that encourages community building and conversations, that helps develop relationships and ideas. The Mead Centre is a charity and managed by people connected with the church, Centre users and local people who believe in the vision. The Mead Centre is at the heart of the community.