Exeter Wellbeing Hub at Wat Tyler House
Simon Bowkett, the Chief Executive of Exeter CVS, spoke on the background, philosophy and development of the new Hub.
Exeter CVS had with Devon Doctors (delivering local NHS primary care services to vulnerable groups) and Working Links (delivering Community Rehabilitation under the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme) secured £440,000 from Public Health England’s Recovery Capital Fund to transform Wat Tyler House into the Exeter Engagement Hub. It now also had a 20 year lease from the City Council.
A recovery-focused, co-located and integrated health and well being hub for people with a range of needs and capacities, based around a specialist GP surgery would be created. It would also cover substance misuse, mental health and offender management services integrated with adult learning, volunteering programmes, housing advice, personal finance and debt management, participation and citizenship to create a ”wraparound” offer to clients.
Services included the Clock Tower GP service, the probation service, substance misuse support, SHOT,Eddystone (HIV/STD etc.), Bicton College and Julian House (street homeless). These bodies were represented on a Management Steering Group including representatives of the City and County Councils.
Ivan Jordan, the architect, had designed the building based on (and shaped like) a river reflecting a life’s journey from potentially chaotic beginnings to more placid and settled futures. One end of the building focused on crisis management and, moving through the building, advice and guidance was provided on housing, training, education and skills etc. to help build better futures. The physical layout of the interior promoted connectivity between the agencies with shared meeting spaces to facilitate the exchange of information. There was no reception desk, everyone entering the building being greeted by an individual, usually a volunteer, to ensure the individual is re-assured and helped immediately as well as providing some security for the building and staff. Other examples of assistance included John Lewis which had committed staff to train volunteers in customers care skills.
A core assumption was that support with life events through personal transition was the main catalyst for growing recovery capital and was needed in different forms whether a person was in crisis, in treatment, in recovery, in transition, sustaining health and well being or moving towards training and employment.
Simon referred to connectivity with the local community including the Methodist Church, the St. Sidwells Centre, the Mosque and the St James Neigbourhood Forum. He highlighted the latter’s project in developing a community garden which would dovetail with two similar projects clearing and upgrading waste land and involving clients in this exercise. He confirmed that steps were being taken with the City Council to design out the existing problem area in the alleyway to the side of the St. Sidwells Centre which was currently a meeting point for street drinkers, drug taking etc.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.