A BRIGHT new community centre has opened its doors to people of all ages. 

After months of planning and preparation, Liskeard’s Lighthouse Centre has moved to its new home in the former Job Centre building on Church Street, where it’s providing a range of support services and activities – and above all, a warm welcome to anyone who walks in. 

Back in 2018, the Lighthouse Centre idea was sparked by a conversation between director Clare Bevan and some of her friends. 

“There were a few of us all working in different churches. We’d put on events and people wouldn’t come, which we put down to doing it in a church building. We decided we needed to go out into the community.” 

Starting with affordable bouncy castle events – aimed at reducing loneliness by bringing adults together while their children have fun – the organisation went on to provide watersports, cycling and walking groups for wellbeing, holiday clubs for children, courses to help people manage anxiety, depression or anger, and workshops such as music, crafting and life skills. 

A food club intercepts produce that would otherwise go to waste, enabling people to obtain fresh and nutritious items at a very low price. 

Having moved from a unit on the outskirts of town into the middle of Liskeard, the Lighthouse Centre can now continue offering all that it already does, as well as some exciting new ventures, says Clare. 

“It’s grown tremendously. We weren’t coping in the other building, but where we are now we can run everything all at the same time. And whereas we had no footfall at all in the other place, now we’re continually seeing people come past and they come in. It’s so much better.” 

Funding from the National Lottery has enabled the move and will secure the centre for the coming three years. Anyone who needs to can come in to access support services and a friendly, non-judgmental ear, but the centre is also a place to meet and socialise. 

“The soft play for under 5s for me was a big thing, having three children myself who are now older teenagers, I always wanted a place where I could have a coffee while they played safely,” says Clare. 

“We also have an affordable cafe, and we’re going to have an affordable gym upstairs, which we have the funding for.” 

On the first floor is a huge space which will become a children and youth room, and the centre is also a hub for other organisations that come in to offer advice and support (such as South West Water, who come in to help people who are worried about their bills and debt, and the housing association Homegroup). 

Clare is especially proud to be working with the NHS in a pilot project, where mental health link workers will be based in-house at the Lighthouse Centre. 

“The NHS has been trying hard to connect with the private and voluntary sector and we’ve worked hard on this over the last eight months, and social prescribers now refer to us,” Clare explained. 

“To have us all working in the same building together is amazing.” 

Seeing the premises officially open was a very special moment for the whole team. 

“It was incredible. To go from a conversation around the dining table, to seeing this, it’s just grown so quickly. The new centre has got a lovely feel to it, it’s really warm and friendly. And I can’t big up the staff and volunteers enough. They all give their time, get on so well and give so much.” 

Donations are always very much welcomed to assist the centre to continue its work, says Clare: anyone who would like to offer support should email [email protected]

The Lighthouse Centre is open Monday to Thursday 11am to 4pm at Bell House, 7-9 Church Street.