Brighton day centre reopening after year-long refurbishment

Posted On 21 Jun 2011 at 12:29 am

A day centre in a listed building in Brighton is being formally reopened after a 12-month refurbishment.

First Base, run by Brighton Housing Trust (BHT), has been restored, refurbished and remodelled.

It was set up as a traditional day centre in St Stephen’s Church Hall in Montpelier Place, Brighton, for homeless and vulnerable people in 1984.

It will now focus on helping homeless people into work and finding them somewhere settled to live.

German Doner Kebab

The remodelled centre has new and improved facilities including a base for a training project to prepare people with a history of homelessness for work in the catering trade.

It also includes facilities for Dine! – a social enterprise run by people who have been helped by First Base.

Dine! provides an external catering service to local businesses.

The day centre has continued to operate while work was under way in the Grade II* listed building.

First Base will be formally reopened on Thursday 7 July.

Thrilled

BHT director of homelessness services Nikki Homewood said: “We’re thrilled with the new building.

“The restoration work is beautiful and sympathetic to the history of the building while the new facilities for clients provide a modern fit-for-purpose service.”

The work was funded by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It was carried out in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council.

BHT chief executive Andy Winter said: “The refurbishment and reopening of First Base is a major milestone.

“The facilities that we can offer clients will compare favourably with the best in the country.

“There will be a renewed focus on bringing about change for clients and the work, training and education facilities are of the highest order.

“The remodelling of the centre has been guided by those who use its facilities, and they will have a greater role in running the service in the future.

“We are extremely grateful to all those who have made this possible, from our funders, many hundreds of individual supporters, and the clients who have guided the refurbishment.

“Last, but by no means least, the amazing staff team at First Base, who have carried on providing a great service over the last year while the works have been carried out.”

St Stephen’s Hall dates from 1766. It was originally designed by John Crunden as a Regency ballroom in Castle Square, Brighton.

The building became St Stephen’s Chapel of the Royal Pavilion in 1821.

King George IV, King William IV and Queen Victoria all worshipped there before it was moved, brick by brick, to its present site a mile away in Montpelier Place in 1852.

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