Lottery boost for hub in former nightclub

An artist's impression of what Style Acre may look like when it is completed NNL-140819-173230001
An artist's impression of what Style Acre may look like when it is completed NNL-140819-173230001

A former nightclub which has been turned into a hub that provides support for people with learning disabilities has received a £271,000 grant towards its running costs.

Style Acre has set up the hub, called SABRe (Style Acre Banbury Resource) in Butchers Row, in Banbury, formerly known as Le Royale nightclub,

Refurbishment of the three-storey building is nearly finished with the hub due to open in May. Work started in September.

The Big Lottery Fund has awarded the hub £271, 784 over three years towards running costs, which includes two members of staff, a car and other associated costs.

Speaking to the Banbury Guardian, fundraising, marketing and community development manager at Style Acre, Philippa Stannard, said: “There was a lotof toil that went into the application and it was very important to us.

“The fund will really help us enormously and we are all set to go.”

“Banbury is a new area for us and we are already responding to requests from families and professionals. They want us to replicate in the north what we have done in the south.”

Philippa Stannard, Style Acre

SABRe will help around 60 to 80 adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities to learn new skills, find work and volunteering opportunities and socialise.

The ground floor of the building, which will include a kitchen, will be an area where people can make friends and learn new skills.

There will also be a second-hand book and craft shop and a cafe which will provide some revenue for the project and work opportunities for beneficiaries.

The upper floors will house four assisted living apartments.

A job club and work placements will also be on offer.

Ms Stannard added although the grant would be a great help, it would not cover all of the running costs. We do receive some money from individuals who come to us,” she said. “If people want to support us by making a donation, we’d love to hear from them.”

As well as SABRe, Style Acre also provides assisted living support for beneficiaries who are living in their own homes, helping around 70 people around Oxfordshire.

It runs a service in Didcot and social enterprises which enable people to gain work experience.

Ms Stannard said: “Banbury is a new project we have been working hard on for some time.

“Banbury is a new area for us and we are already responding to requests from families and professionals. They want us to replicate in the north what we have done in the south.”

The charity is looking for Banbury businesses to get involved who might be able to provide opportunities for the service’s beneficiaries.

Ms Stannard said they had already received support from a number of local firms and organisations during the hub’s construction including Banbury Cherwell Rotary, Norbar Torque Tools and J&M Humphris.

Style Acre bought the property from B & P Properties who had previous plans to create flats and a shop, which did not materialise.

Refurbishment work has been carried out by Oxfordshire-based contractor Kingerlee which also project managed the building at no extra cost to the charity.

Other supporters of the project include outgoing Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry and Samantha Cameron.

Style Acre will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

There will also be several fundraising events. To find out more, visit the website www.styleacre.org.uk.