Wellbeing Hub

hands in sandWat Tyler House is being rebuilt as a local engagement hub

CoLab to deliver local project to help vulnerable women turn their backs on crime:

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CoLab Exeter has been successful in its bid to be one of six organisations around the country to deliver a new Ministry of Justice project that will help vulnerable women at risk of committing crime.

The project will provide tailored, targeted support to break the cycle of reoffending, and support women to turn their lives around for good by increasing the support on offer to female offenders both behind bars and in the community. This should improve life chances for vulnerable women and cut crime.

Devon is one of six areas nationally to be awarded the money, which will be used to provide a more joined-up and tailored support for local women at risk of crime and in the justice system. It will bring together local agencies and services to provide wraparound care and support to women to turn their backs on crime for good.

The project has been designed to help generate better working relationships with counterparts in the NHS, courts and police, making sure that vulnerable women have access to the services they need.

One area which has already benefited from the funding has developed a successful early intervention pilot, identifying female offenders as soon as they come into contact with the police.

Almost half of women released from prison reoffend within a year. Yet many suffer from a range of complex issues including substance misuse, mental health problems and domestic violence. These require specialist support and intervention to improve lives and end the scourge of reoffending which costs the taxpayer £15 billion a year.

For more information contact Amanda Kilroy on 01392 202055 or email [email protected] 

Resonance makes its first investment from the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund

Katie Sherjan CEO Hollywell Housing TrustHollywell Housing Trust
A charity that started out at CoLab Exeter is celebrating a £90,000 investment in its growth after Exeter CVS brokered an introduction between its founder, Katie Sherjan, and a local Social Investment organisation, Resonance.

More Homes for Vulnerable People from Hollywell Housing Trust as Resonance makes its first investment from the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund:

Hollywell Housing Trust, a social enterprise set up to offer bespoke housing services for vulnerable people in Devon & Cornwall, will receive £90,000 from the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (South West) – the first investment from the Fund, which was set up in July 2016.

Hollywell provides an invaluable service to vulnerable people by providing a tenancy and housing support service, which is designed to enhance and support their lives to enable them to live independently in a suitable and sustainable environment.

The investment will allow Hollywell to expand their operations, reduce their waiting list and reach new areas across the region, increasing its capacity in the first year by 200% – an exciting step for both the Fund and for the wider South West community.

This loan has come at a pivotal time as the CEO of Hollywell, Katie Sherjan explains: “The upfront cost of renting property for vulnerable people is high, meaning we are under cash flow pressure in order to grow the business and increase the number of people we support. Our primary purpose is to provide as many people as possible with a safe, sustainable place to live. We also provide the housing and tenancy support they need to maintain their home but we were struggling to keep up with the ever increasing demand. Investment from the Fund will enable us to grow the business much faster than we would have been able to do alone – the plan is to increase the number of tenants we have from 25 to 75 in the next 12 months and continue at a similar growth rate going forward.”

The organizations we back provide enormous value and potential to challenge and change the system. We are particularly interested in seeing innovative partnerships, especially ones that prevent or delay the need for people to rely on statutory health and social care services or accelerate people out of them. (Veryan Young, Investment Manager for the Fund)

The investment is a key milestone for the Fund and Resonance believes Hollywell is a great example of the type of organization the Fund was designed to help. Daniel Brewer, Managing Director of Resonance said: “We were particularly impressed with this organization – not only with the positive effect Hollywell’s approach is having on the lives of people they house and support, but also how they bring together a partnership between landlords, support providers, commissioners as well as the individual and often their family.”

The £5m Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (South West) is managed by Resonance, which is a national social impact investment company, with investment from the South West Academic Health Science Network and the Access Foundation Growth Fund.

Resonance wants organizations in Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to get in touch with “big ideas” that improve the health and wellbeing of people and could be an effective challenge to the status quo with the right financial backing.

Veryan Young, Resonance’s Investment Manager for the Fund can be contacted at:
e/ [email protected] t/ 0345 004 3432
More information can be found at http://resonance.ltd.uk/get-investment/health-wellbeing-challenge-fund-south-west/

Hollywell Logos




Wat Tyler House interior GRW Photography16 compressedThe Atrium of Dreams

This month sees the launch of CoLab in Exeter – a multi-agency and cross-sector partnership that will bring together over 25 different services and projects under one roof to offer a joint response to some pressing challenges. Currently, preventing reoffending and reducing city centre crime and anti-social behaviour are right up there on the priority list.

To many in the voluntary and community sector, another hub may not be anything new, but perhaps what makes CoLab a little different is that the hub is not hosted by a criminal justice service provider, or indeed any other provider, but by Exeter CVS - a voluntary sector infrastructure organisation (or ‘civil society support’ organisation as we have come to call ourselves).

A busy, diverse and ambitious band

The new CoLab hub brings together a range of services from the community sector, the public sector and the private sector, including Working Links, our local prime contractor for probation services. These services work across criminal justice, health and social care, and housing pathways, alongside the core business of Exeter CVS which includes social action, volunteering, lifelong learning and enterprise and employability skills. Services include everything from a GP surgery (specialising in homeless health) to a Black, Asian, and minority ethnic support service; from mental health crisis outreach to housing support; from an assertive homeless outreach service to a social enterprise mentoring first time offenders. It also includes Exeter MEAM, a partnership which aims to reduce suffering and improving outcomes for people with multiple and complex needs, by promoting better coordination and flexibility of service provision. It is a busy, diverse and ambitious band.

Success has many fathers as they say, and CoLab is no different. CVS were already resident in one part of Wat Tyler House – previously a poll tax collection office belonging to Exeter City Council – when the rest of the building became vacant. So began a conversation to take on the whole premises as a community asset, and a centre for social action and change. Around the same time that we began negotiations in earnest, Working

Links approached us looking for voluntary sector partners in their local Transforming Rehabilitation tender – and talked enthusiastically of their vision for community-based hubs being at the centre of their offer.

The development of a hub on this scale was certainly not in our thinking a few years ago, and while we are very proud of what has been achieved so far, I have to admit that there is something very opportunistic about it. To our delight we were awarded £440,000 from Public Health England under the Recovery Capital Fund to begin transforming the building into a multi-agency workspace, designed to promote easy access and engagement for our visitors, and active co-working and collaboration for services and their employees.

A space with no labels

We embarked on an arts-based eight-week consultation with service users, providers and their staff, commissioners and stakeholders within the community to shape the evolution of design. What could the space look like, feel like, sound like? How could the space be experienced – both for those visiting, and for those working within it? Some key themes emerged. Visitors wanted a space where they could visit as themselves – not as ‘an offender’, ‘an addict’, ‘a rough sleeper’, a ‘volunteer’, but as a person. This would need to be a space with no labels, and therefore no stigma. They also talked of a local service system where they need only tell their story once, rather than be bounced from service to service, telling and re-telling in great detail the litany of woe that led them to the door of that agency. Finally, they wanted a place where services were ambitious for them – that saw their potential, their assets and strengths, and where they were not defined by current deficits or past failures.

The river, flowing from turbulence to calm

Fast forward 12 months, and after much noise and dust around us, and many months of deadline-related stress, frustrations with everything from planning regulations to furniture deliveries (and self-builds!), and – of course – the inevitable project budget over-spend, the space is complete. It is light, modern, bright and airy – truly one of the best places to work in the city. The building itself is long, and curved to follow the contours of the multi-storey car park on which it sits, so the design concept that evolved was one of a river (bear with me!).

The river became a metaphor for a recovery journey, beginning with a phase that could be fast-moving, unpredictable, turbulent, chaotic – dangerous, even. As the river matures, the waters become calmer, and deeper. So, at one end of the building sit the services that work with people in early recovery, and often in crisis: homeless outreach, drug and alcohol services, mental health crisis outreach workers and Community Rehabilitation Company staff. As you move through the building you find family workers, personal development and training providers, the volunteer centre and carers’ support teams; and then employability programmes and the enterprise zone – a space where social entrepreneurs can rent low-cost office space or hot desks. It is a space we are hugely proud of, and already some fantastic case studies have begun to emerge of people whose lives have been transformed by services simultaneously working with and around them.

So the launch event will be a celebration that the hub project is finally finished, right? Well, yes and no. What we will be celebrating this month is that the building project is complete, but the evolution of a truly collaborative community of services is only just beginning. Changing structures is one thing, changing cultures quite another. How does probation culture fit with the culture of the NHS? How does the compassion of a counsellor fit with the need for enforcement from the police? None of us are in any doubt that this is a work in progress.

Lucy’s experience and the challenge of joining services seamlessly together

Last week we met Lucy (not her real name) who arrived on our doorstep newly homeless, and fresh from the custody suite after being arrested for the assault of two people the previous night following her eviction from a dual diagnosis housing project. Her mental health had deteriorated, and her behaviour was challenging. At one point the police had to be called (as did the fire service!).

The police revealed that she had been assessed by mental health services the previous night in custody, but was not found to be so ill that sectioning was appropriate. We contacted her mental health worker to ask her to come and assess Lucy, given her behaviour. Her keyworker told us to call the police. We explained we had called the police, and they had told us to contact her. She said Lucy’s behaviour represented a “descent into crisis” so we should contact the mental health crisis team, which we did. They consulted their system and explained that Lucy already had a keyworker, so we should contact her. We explained that we had, and that her keyworker had told us to contact them… had we tried the police, they asked? What about her GP…? And so it went on, for over four hours that day, and several more days after. We calculated that within 24 hours of her eviction Lucy had cost the public purse over £20,000.

Finally, she was sectioned, but only after a week of street homelessness, and a further alleged assault.

Joining 25 services together in a single building is a great achievement, but joining practice and cultures to become truly seamless is a whole other challenge. But we’re working on it and are determined to get there – for Lucy, and all those like her that are still free-falling through the gaps between our services as agencies try to deflect these complex people from their particular doorway.

We’ll keep you posted on how we get on…

Follow Simon on Twitter at @SimonExCVS, and CoLab on @CoLabExeter  www.colabexeter.org.uk

This article was originally posted on June 13th, 2016 by Isabel Livingstone as a guest blog by Simon Bowkett, Chief Exec., Exeter CVS & CoLab
The article in its original posting can be found on Clinks website here


Office space available in the heart of Exeter

colab in exeter20151112 110716Having completed the redevelopment of Wat Tyler House on King William Street, we are now offering fully-serviced desks in the (co)Lab Wellbeing Hub to local charities, statutory agencies and social enterprises at extremely competitive rates. From only £100 per month, per desk, your staff and volunteers can enjoy:

  • Dedicated desks in beautiful and airy open-plan office space,
  • City-centre location with nearby multistorey car-park and street parking,
  • Work and network with like-minded people and organisations,
  • High-speed Wi-Fi and direct-dial telephone exchange,
  • High-profile web and social media presence as a (co)Lab partner,
  • Fully-equipped kitchen, shower, toilet and secure storage facilities,
  • Flexible hot desks, meeting areas and quiet room,
  • Conference areas and IT suite available to hire at competitive rates,
  • Fully-trained welcome team.

For more information contact Fiona Carden ►

(co)Lab Wellbeing Hub: Focusing on people's potential, not just their problems

20151112 110716April creative consultation workshopThere has been a shift in the way the ‘business’ of changing lives and transforming communities operates this year, which has shaped our development as an infrastructure provider – a shift perfectly articulated in a recent report: The focus must shift to creating health rather than responding to ill health. That means giving people the information, power and control to stay healthy, manage their conditions and choose their treatments. It identifies the new, empowering models of care that are emerging across the country, which bring about a fundamental shift of power from providers to patients. These models include social prescribing, the integration of care around the patient, peer support and care networks, asset-based community development, and technology-enabled care plans.

“People using services want service providers to be more ambitious for them: They want the focus to be on their potential, not just their problems”

This idea of health creation through informing, empowering and giving people real choice and more control of their lives has been a guiding vision for the team at Exeter CVS. However the task of making that a reality was given a boost after we won significant Public Health investment to transform the building where we have historically been situated into a thriving community hub.

Last year, after completing an Asset Based Community Development process with a small group of organisations we realised that our role in this process - as a progressive infrastructure organisation - was to focus not on our own development in isolation, but on energising and developing the interface between a whole range of organisations striving for the same thing, along with the communities we serve.

What came out of that process reflected what we had already seen in parallel consultations - people using services want service providers to be more ambitious for them: They want the focus to be on their potential, not just their problems… So we began to ask: How can we co-create a space and joint service offer that communicates this ambition – for people, for ourselves and for our community as a whole?

We were lucky; serendipity brought us imaginative, socially motivated architect Ivan Jordan, who after working pro-bono on initial drawings, became part of the “collaborative community” an interdisciplinary group working together to not just deliver the new building, but to forge a culture and structure for joint working based on core values of reciprocity, transparency and trust. Early ideas and imaginings were encouraged and nourished through a process of creative consultation led by Encounters Arts group, who guided stakeholders to be bold and honest about what they wanted from a space that could generate health, empower people and offer real choice and control whilst addressing fears and doubts.

A firm of local builders were then engaged, who signed up to the “considerate builders” pledge, and then worked with the architect and the team to translate ideas and aspirations into what we now see emerging… a beautiful, inspirational space that conveys a sense of quality, innovation and community through its well-thought out design.

Although health and wellbeing is a core thread in the evolution of the new hub, it is not the only feature, and this year we have expanded to include individuals and organisations focused on the recovery and rehabilitation of those described as having multiple and complex needs.

This emphasis on enabling the most disadvantaged people in the city to thrive isn’t a new direction for ECVS; we have always focused our efforts on informing, empowering and encouraging people to transform their selves and situations through our learning volunteering and social action activities, and have had great success in engaging those people who don’t feel able to enter a college, civic centre or other agency to get what they need. What we envisaged for our own future was a role where we facilitated some of the important conversations that needed to happen to create the conditions for recovery rehabilitation and health creation to flourish, and what we discovered was that this was something that we couldn’t do by ourselves – we needed a like-minded collaborative community for co-design and critical friendship.

As that collaborative community has developed and inter-agency communication improved, we have linked up with other initiatives in the city, like Integrated Care Exeter, Transforming Rehabilitation and Making Every Adult Matter. It is has become clear to us all that while “health creation” activity is vital, it is also important to focus on the “root causes of social and economic disadvantage,” which are as much systemic as personal, as one report recently pointed out: “Though successive governments have promised to tackle the ‘root causes’ of social and economic disadvantage - public spending on individuals experiencing problems such as addiction, homelessness, offending and poor mental health is still largely reactive, funding expensive crisis care services rather than coordinated and preventative support."

What we are taking from this report is the possibility that the government will build on the Troubled Families work and develop a ‘Troubled Lives’ programme, which would coordinate support to the 250,000 individuals who experience two or more of the problems we typically see - homelessness, substance misuse and reoffending. As costs for supporting these individuals average £19,000, with some cases involving ten or more different support professionals, it is clear that simplification of systems, better joint working and a targeted approach are also key factors in ensuring success. Better coordinated interventions from statutory and voluntary agencies have already been shown to reduce costs by up to 26%. (Battrick et al 2014)

The focus of efforts in the new hub is on delivering an integrated offer of both health creation and targeted activity to address core issues. It is a dynamic tension which we are constantly working to balance as a group. What underpins our efforts is a commitment to collaborative working, shared values and clear operating principles. This year has seen more sign up and genuine efforts to improve the individual journeys of disadvantaged people as they move between crisis, recovery and rehabilitation – which as we know is often not about moving from A to B, but about moving through cycles of progress and relapse on the road to a better quality of life – whatever that means for each individual. 2016 promises to be an exciting and productive year and we are proud to be leading this development.

(co)Lab: A sustainable build for Exeter's new Wellbeing Hub

20150828 14384420150828 14394520151021 09312220151021 09331620151021 09345320151021 11555420151030 17443020151109 08045920151110 09265220151112 11071613-10 B wthUsing £450,000 of grant funding from Public Health England, ECVS has teamed up with strategic partners and local wellbeing charities to redevelop its headquarters, Wat Tyler House, as an integrated wellbeing and engagement hub.

“Every detail of the redevelopment has been carefully considered, and regularly reviewed throughout the redevelopment. We are proud to have made the wisest possible investment of this capital funding to ensure a future-proofed, sustainable, fit-for-purpose community building.”

All of ECVS’ volunteering and learning services continue to operate from the building, in addition to a range of other personal development and wellbeing projects managed by local probation, health, recovery and rehabilitation services. Space has also been made for local social entrepeneurs who are now basing their community interest start-ups in this thriving community hub at the heart of the city.
The new centre, which we have called (co) Lab Exeter, marks the beginning of a new phase of collaborative working within the local sector. Working in physical proximity in a custom-designed environment will enable our partnership to develop an integrated, holistic, person-centred wellbeing offer to improve outcomes for service users in Exeter.

Construction began in Summer 2015; ECVS based itself in the eastern end of the building formerly occupied by Exeter Citzens Advice Bureau (which is now based in the Civic Centre) and in temporary accommodation at the nearby St Loyes Foundation while the main building was gutted ready for redevelopment.

The main building was reopened on 9th November 2015, and work is now beginning to integrate the eastern end into what will be an entirely open-plan working space totalling 1000m2..
The eastern end, which will be completed in April 2016, will be home to the branch of Devon Doctors currently based in the Clocktower Surgery on New North Road.

Working partnerships are already being forged for integrated referral routes between departments, enabling service users to visit any or all of the organisations based here and be smoothly referred between the different services in a collaborative journey for personal development or recovery.

Architect Ivan Jordan was attracted to this vision of people who were living chaotic lives finding a refuge and direction in the new hub, allowing their turbulent personal journeys to take a steadier, natural flow through pools of calm and recovery. This concept became the central partis for the building’s development, the natural curve of the building becoming both a physical path and the metaphorical ‘river’ flowing through the building. The working, meeting and social areas are clustered along the river with slanted, half-height partitions giving a sense of a ‘village community’. The design is three-dimensional, with the building’s visible steelworks sprayed and treated to make an attractive feature along the apex of the ceiling, and a mezzanine floor including a ‘quiet area’ for staff.

A Sustainable Build

Wherever possible, resources from the old Wat Tyler house have been preserved through demolition and upcycled into the new build: Every appropriate piece of timber, glass, doors and office equipment has been reconditioned and repurposed, reducing the budget for those features considerably.

Every detail of the redevelopment has been carefully considered, and regularly reviewed throughout the redevelopment. Procurement options have been revisited constantly up to the point of purchase, to ensure the best value supplies have been sourced throughout. We are proud to have made the wisest possible investment of this capital funding to ensure a future-proofed, sustainable, fit-for-purpose community building.

The redevelopment has given us the opportunity to invest in energy-saving features with new insulation, heating systems and hyper-efficient lighting: The entire 1000m2 space will be illuminated with a rig of seven LED lamps and 100 uplighters for around 60p per hour. Integration with Exeter City Council’s rooftop solar voltaic system on the neighbouring John Lewis multi-storey car park will provide the majority of our electricity at 8p/KW (our previous rate was 12p/KW). As part of our continued drive to working in a paperless environment, office filing space has been rationalised, and the Learning and meeting spaces are equipped with Smart TVs, tablets and toughened-glass ‘white walls’ in a move away from the ‘flipcharts and handouts’ model and towards a new learning experience.

This article was taken from the Exeter CVS 2014-2015 Impact Report ►

Building the Wellbeing Hub: The Journey So Far...

Work continues apace at the Wellbeing HubClearing the way - demolition begins at Wat Tyler HouseDigital imagery of the proposed reception areaArchitect Ivan Jordan with CVS managers Fiona Carden (L) and Amanda KilroyThe architects vision developing the theme of a flowing riverBirds-eye view of the development showing the flow of the buildingClearing the way - demolition begins at Wat Tyler House 2Clearing the way - demolition begins at Wat Tyler House 4Clearing the way - demolition begins at Wat Tyler House 3Day 3 of the demolition 10With no walls between front and back windows we are getting a new sense of space and lightDay 3 of the demolition 2Work continues apace at the Wellbeing HubWork continues apace at the Wellbeing HubWork continues apace at Wat Tyler House; with the demolition stage complete the structure is light, airy, with a full open-plan view of the length and width of the building. Minimal partitions are being erected for the different office, meeting, social and library areas. The intricate piping that forms the building's heating system has been sandblasted clean as a first stage of preparing a minimalist, clean environment. Keep following the updates at www.twitter.com/#ExeterWellbeing 

13 July:
Early in development, our architect identified the flowing structure of Wat Tyler House and developed a vision for the redevelopment reflecting the journey of a river. To use this analogy for the re-build itself, we find ourselves at the 'young river' stage: the project flows quickly with lots of energy – sometimes rapid and tumbling. We are certainly moving swiftly and carving a path towards the creation of a transformative space that will support change and innovation.

We have completed a successful first phase of consultation. Seven workshops have engaged 150 people in a variety of settings, generating insightful, informative and creative answers to the questions of how to co-create an inclusive, purposeful and functional Engagement and Wellbeing Hub.

Builders have now commenced the demolition phase - see the image slideshow for photos of our progress, and digital imagery from the architect's early designs.

Consultation continues, and more information will follow soon. Search #ExeterWellbeing on Twitter to keep up to date!

Transforming urban green spaces

The green space extends along the back of KingWilliam Street car parkA team of young people coordinated by Probation Services begins work clearing the gardenThe Urban Garden Project planning group includes GPGP learners and volunteersThe secret garden behind King William Street Car ParkThe area has been untended for many yearsThe area is currently overgrownA lot of work to be done to reclaim this secret green spaceThe Urban Garden Project planning group includes GPGP learners and volunteersThe garden space starting to take shape after great clearance work from the DDCCRC team 1Hope for the future car park users may soon see some real green space next doorThe Wat Tyler House transformation is extending beyond the building, to nearby green spaces. Our new Urban Garden Project is working with local businesses and authorities to create an ecotherapy space in the heart of the city that will support adult and community learning projects, social action and social enterprise.

Our new Urban Garden Project is creating an ecotherapy space in the heart of the city to support community learning projects, social action and social enterprise

ECVS recently delivered the popular Growing People, Growing Places project in partnership with Cornwall College Bicton; this course led to a legacy programme of volunteers maintaining the new Learning Garden in the grounds of Exeter Cathedral. Inspired by this success, our Urban Garden Project is beginning a transformation of the city's secret gardens, beginning with the recovery of an area of hidden, untended garden at the rear of Wat Tyler House on King William Street. The reclamation of this unused land in the city centre will benefit the Wellbeing Hub's service users, and serve as a pilot project for future green redevelopment in the city.

As with the GPGP model we are seeing the real benefits of partnership and co-design:

  • In collaboration with Probation services, a team have already begun preparing the area for planting. Local timber and building merchants Travis Perkins kindly provided a heavily discounted wood chipper to enable us to mulch the felled trees and shrubs and plough them back into the soil.
  • Exeter City Council has supported the activity by negotiating a nominal ‘peppercorn’ rent for Exeter CVS to lease the space for the coming years.

The benefits of learning in green spaces are undeniable: The GPGP project saw 40+ learners gain a qualification in personal development and horticulture. Many of those learners are going onto further learning, and have taken on voluntary roles or paid employment. Ecotherapy, and the emerging treecomonics movement, are proven ways to improve personal and community wellbeing by caring for and enhancing our green spaces: Recent research shows that people who live in tree-lined streets report health benefits equivalent to being seven years younger as well as revealing benefits from everything to improved mental health and reduced asthma.

Along with the volunteer garden design group, our work with Cornwall College Bicton continues, and Bicton staff and students will be supporting the development of the urban garden.

This innovative project will support a range of activities

  • Adult and Community Learning
  • Arts projects
  • Ecotherapy
  • Social action
  • Social enterprise

If you are interested in taking part please express your interested by contacting the Learning Centre Manager Fiona Carden, or contact the Learning Centre on 01392 202055 and speak to our administrator, Georgina Dunn.

More media coverage for wellbeing hub

Express & Echo, 16 August 2015: Work is well under way to transform Exeter Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and the empty space beside it into a health and well-being hub. Since last autumn, half of the space at Wat Tyler House in King William Street has been empty after Exeter Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) moved to the Civic Centre. A grant of £440,000 from Public Health England has been secured to redesign the building and increase the existing services already on offer such as having a GP surgery, and probation service and substance misuse support.

Phase one of the regeneration of the city centre based venue has seen Exeter CVS and the other building users move into the empty CAB space to allow builders to demolish the internal structure of one half of the building and rebuild it into part of the new hub. The work is expected to be finished by October. The next phase will see Exeter CVS and the other organisations move into the new side of the building while the former CAB premises is transformed. The completed centre will hopefully be ready to launch in March.

Amanda Kilroy, Exeter CVS deputy chief executive, said: “We are still offering our services as normal belive it or not with all this going on around us! We’ve even had a ministerial visit from Marcus Jones, the parliamentary under secretary of state for communities and local government. He said he would come back and look at the finished site. We’ve also got Rob Wilson, minister for civil society visiting next month because it’s an example of organisations working together to do something in a really innovative way.

“As budgets are shrinking, there’s a big shift at the moment towards looking at services coming together in communities to make the best use of money and to give the best possible service to people.”

Work continues apace at the Wellbeing HubExeter CVS, which works to promote the interests of the voluntary and community sector, is currently joined at Wat Tyler House by organisations such as Devon Carers; Targeted Family Support Programme; Drink Wise Age Well; and Community Housing Aid.

Moving in as new tenants when the hub is created will be The Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company; RISE – Recovery and Integration Service; and The Clock Tower Surgery, a GP practice for the homeless and vulnerably housed population. The surgery will be relocating from New North Road.

Amanda said: “They help people with the hardest and most complex needs so it fits in very well with what we’re doing here, and they can then access different support under one roof. It’s a much more joined up way of working.”

As part of the redevelopment of the site, Exeter City Council has given permission for an area of green space at the back of the building to be turned into an urban garden.

A one-day creative workshop is being held at Wat Tyler House on Friday, August 21, to get service users on board who would like the opportunity to help co-deign the new green space and take part in its growing food project. For more details call 01392 202055.

Original article at www.thisisexeter.co.uk ►

Wellbeing Hub receives national recognition for health innovation

April creative consultation workshopThe team behind a new health & wellbeing hub aimed at some of Exeter’s most disadvantaged communities has this week been selected by the prestigious King’s Fund to address a national conference on Public Health and Housing.

This is a good, solid piece of work illustrating how, by working together agencies can begin to take an holistic approach to deal with the complex needs of the homeless. The service is new, but the enthusiasm contained in the project abstract is palpable.

Exeter Council for Voluntary Service is developing former Exeter City Council offices at Wat Tyler House in King William Street into a multi-agency wellbeing hub aimed at supporting people with multiple and complex needs in their recovery, and to play a fuller part in their communities. The hub will feature a specialist GP practice, a mental health outreach team, substance misuse recovery workers, a housing advice team, community learning tutors, volunteering advice staff, and the city’s Street Homeless Outreach Team.

The King’s Fund – a charity and think-tank that works to improve health and health care through innovation and policy development – has now announced that the team behind this ambitious new project will address their October conference on themed on health in housing. The project was selected for its innovative approach in bringing together a range of services from across public, private and voluntary sectors to meet the needs of people with very complex lives.

One judge wrote, “This is a good, solid piece of work illustrating how, by working together agencies can begin to take an holistic approach to deal with the complex needs of the homeless. The service is new, but the enthusiasm contained in the project abstract is palpable.”

Chief Executive of Exeter CVS, Simon Bowkett, said, “We are thrilled for this project to have been recognised in this way, and it is a credit to the leadership and collaborative spirit shown by all partners.

“To see such a diverse team of Devon County Council’s Public Health department, Exeter City Council’s Housing Team, Devon Doctors, Devon Partnership Trust, Working Links and so many local charities and organisations come together to work to address one of Exeter’s most pressing challenges has been a privilege. This recognition is a great honour, and shows that Exeter CVS is leading the way in demonstrating how innovative community infrastructure can support local public services to tackle the growing needs in our communities.”

Exeter CVS have employed a local architect, Ivan Jordan, to transform Wat Tyler House – Exeter City Council’s former offices for poll tax collection – into a warm and welcoming space that will accommodate a whole array of services.

Mr Jordan, who will be joining the presentation team at the King’s Fund Conference said, “I have relished the opportunity to develop this community space into something that will draw people in, and hold them in the services that they need to recover, and where they can start to feel a part of community life again. It has been a unique task for me, because it involved an eight-week consultation with the people who will use services here, and with the staff, volunteers and commissioners of those services.

“This has been a collaborative process of co-design from the start, and to have not only our project, but our design process recognised in this way is a great honour. I am passionate about seeing public buildings and spaces owned and working for local people, and hope that what we are doing here can become a template for developing public assets in the future – locally and nationally.”

The first phase of the wellbeing hub is due to open in October of this year, with the second and final phase due for opening in March 2016.


Additional information

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and health care in England. It helps to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Its stated vision is that the best possible care is available to all. http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/about-us

The King’s Fund conference on Bringing Together Housing & Public Health takes place in London on October 21st. The conference will look at some of the links between health and wellbeing and housing and explore some of the issues around coordinating health, social care and housing policies, commissioning housing that supports good health and wellbeing outcomes and tackling health inequalities in health access. http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/events/housing-and-public-health

The hub’s development is being funded by an award from Public Health England, secured by Exeter CVS earlier this year, to promote the recovery of people with substance misuse issues in a community setting. The award in Exeter was the largest award for a non-residential project in the country. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-health-england-invests-10m-in-drug-and-alcohol-recovery-services

Communities MP visits Exeter Wellbeing Hub

Marcus Jones - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State from CLG visiting the hubminister visitMarcus Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, visited Wat Tyler House this week to see the progress and plans for the new Wellbeing Hub.  Councillor Heather Morris and Nicola Forsdyke, Housing Options Manager from Exeter City Council brought Marcus to meet the different charities and social enterprises already working from this city centre location.

Work continues apace on the new development - with no walls between the front and back windows, we're seeing a new sense of space and light in the building. Follow the Hub Gallery and find out more about the building's concept and planning here ►

Local Newspaper Coverage for Wellbeing Hub

Development model for the new wellbeing hubWat Tyler HouseExpress & Echo, 6 May 2015: Architect plans to turn Exeter Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and the empty space beside it into a health and well-being hub have been revealed.

A grant of £440,000 from Public Health England will be used to offer a GP surgery, probation service and substance misuse support, alongside the existing services already on offer at city centre based Wat Tyler House in King William Street.

Exeter CVS, which works to promote the interests of the voluntary and community sector, is currently consulting staff and service users before drawing up final plans at the end of the month. Building work will begin next month with the current organisations moving into the vacant side while one half is completed and then swapping back to the other side before the building becomes run as one.

The entire transformation is expected to take six months.

Architect plans to turn Exeter Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and the empty space beside it into a health and well-being hub have been revealed.

A grant of £440,000 from Public Health England will be used to offer a GP surgery, probation service and substance misuse support, alongside the existing services already on offer at city centre based Wat Tyler House in King William Street.

Exeter CVS, which works to promote the interests of the voluntary and community sector, is currently consulting staff and service users before drawing up final plans at the end of the month.

Building work will begin next month with the current organisations moving into the vacant side while one half is completed and then swapping back to the other side before the building becomes run as one. The entire transformation is expected to take six months.

Story and image from Exeter Express and Echo

Join stage 2 of our Wellbeing Hub consultation

Ideas put forward in the April creative consultation workshopIf you use any of the services at Wat Tyler House, come along to a creative workshop to explore how we can develop the building into a Health and Well-being Hub with a focus on recovery, rehabilitation and community participation. 

We believe that the best way to develop the Hub is to hear from the people who will be working in it and visiting it. Having gathered thoughts and ideas from workers and members of the public during two COLLECT workshops in April, we would now like to involve you in interpreting the material to:

  • tease out common threads, important issues and potential opportunities
  • have in-depth discussions around the key themes that have emerged.

We are holding four INTERPRET workshops at Wat Tyler House on:

  • Friday 8th May: 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm
  • Friday 15th May: 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm

You need only come to one of these sessions and you do not need to have attended the first workshop to come along.

The workshop will be delivered by Encounters Arts who are highly experienced at facilitating hands on workshops that inspire creativity, dialogue and exchange. The workshop will use a range of creative activities to explore and collect your thoughts, ideas and visions for the new Wellbeing Hub.

We look forward to seeing you there! Please rsvp by emailing [email protected] or calling 01392 202055.

Download invitation ►

Download the consultation plan ►

Audio: About the Wellbeing Hub

Work in progress - development model being constructed for the new hubECVS Acting CEO Amanda Kilroy explains the exciting plans for the Wellbeing Hub to Radio Devon's Simon Bates in this 6 minute interview, especially the benefits for homeless people and those in recovery looking to re-integrate into society. 

Listen now:

Download/play MP3 file ►

Who will use the Wellbeing Hub?

Working volunteersVolunteers with learning difficultiesCommunity activistsLearners with complex needsCommunity groups receiving support and trainingPeople with mental health issues or in recoveryLocal parents and familiesPeople on probationArts for health learnersLocal businesses engaging with local charitiesRetired and older peopleStudents and jobseekersCitizens from all backgroundsThe ambition of this project is to create, for the first time, a co-located and integrated health, wellbeing and engagement hub for local people.

This partnership will offer every citizen of Exeter a genuinely 'whole person' approach to wellbeing and personal development

In recent years ECVS has overseen an increasing number of health and wellbeing projects, and integrated these with its learning and volunteering services as part of a 'whole person' ethos to promoting personal development.

People with mental health issues, learning difficulties, in recovery or on probation have joined retired people, students, jobseekers and employer-supported volunteers to take part in learning and volunteering projects that increase their level of health, employability and engagement in their community. 

As a natural progression to this, ECVS has joined forces with a number of strategic partners to form an Engagement/Wellbeing hub.

The hub will make the adult learning, volunteering and participation even more accessible to those with multiple and complex needs, by integrating Exeter CVS' services with a specialist GP surgery, substance misuse and offender management services.  This, together with housing advice, a community gym, debt management and citizenship programmes will combine to offer every citizen of Exeter a genuinely “whole person” approach to wellbeing and personal development.

The hub's approach will build on the existing ECVS model of engagement and citizenship to recognise and support every individual’s place in their peer group, family, and community:

  • Working volunteers
  • Volunteers with learning difficulties
  • Community activists
  • Homeless people
  • Learners with complex needs
  • Community groups receiving support and training
  • People with mental health issues or in recovery
  • Professional development learners
  • Local parents and families
  • People on probation
  • Local businesses engaging with local charities
  • Retired and older people
  • Students and jobseekers

Wellness is more than just not being ill...

wellness continuumExeterCVS12 J Morton 64A key element of the plans for the integrated Wellbeing Hub is in developing every citizen's capacity to take part in society, not just achieving basic health or recovery.

A cornerstone of the project is an understanding of the long-established 'Illness/Wellness continuum' proposed by doctor and author John Travis. The concept explores the importance of wellbeing services that don't just aim to cure illnesses and reduce immediate risk of premature death or harm, but which offer people education, social awareness and personal development that improves their wellbeing beyond the 'neutral point' of not being ill, and gives them the capacity to 'give back', to help others and take part in their community, and to be more resilient and supported to deal with future challenges.

By partnering with health and rehabilitation organisations, ECVS is working to ensure that every citizen in Exeter, regardless of personal circumstances or challenges, can benefit from personal development and improved wellbeing, and an increased sense of belonging in their community.

For more information about the ambitions of the Wellbeing Hub, you can download the project overview ►

What could happen here?

IMG 0473WatTylerHouse EmptySomething exciting is happening at Wat Tyler House...and you are invited to get involved. We are holding a creative consultation workshop at Exeter CVS on Friday 24 April from 10am - 4pm (a buffet lunch will be provided) to gather your thoughts and ideas on the redevelopment of the building this year. This workshop will be for people who will visit Wat Tyler House to use the services on offer. 

Exeter CVS, along with a number of partners in health and support services, has won some money from Public Health England to re-develop Wat Tyler House as a Health and Wellbeing Hub for the city, combining the existing volunteering and learning centres with other health and wellbeing services.

We believe that the best way to develop the Hub is to hear from the people who will be working in it and visiting it. So, we would like to involve you in having a say about:

  • How to work together across organisations and with the public to deliver the Health and Wellbeing Hub.
  • The design and function of the physical building.

The workshop will be delivered by Encounters Arts who are highly experienced at facilitating hands on workshops that inspire creativity, dialogue and exchange. The workshop will use a range of creative activities to explore and collect your thoughts, ideas and visions for the new Wellbeing Hub.

We look forward to seeing you there! Come along, get involved and have your say.

If you would like to attend, please rsvp to [email protected] 01392 202055.

Download the consultation plan ►

Partners making this happen... Exeter CVS is teaming up with strategic partners and local wellbeing projects to redevelop Wat Tyler House on King... More►


Devon CarersSupport for carers from an experienced team 08456 434435


Addaction's Drink Wise, Age Well project is based here 0800 3047034


Community Housing Aid homelessness prevention 01392 430228

Eddystone Trust

HIV and Sexual Health Services 0800 328 3508

Exeter CVS

CVS Twitter GeneralThe Learning and Volunteer Centres are still at Wat Tyler House!


Updates and views on the new Exeter Wellbeing Hub - use hashtag #ExeterWellbeing. See all ►

ColabExeter These look amazing @BetterExeter ! twitter...
10:31AM May 27
ColabExeter Day 27. We love the passion of our whole team here at @ColabExeter because making a difference to peoples lives really matters. We are proud of what people achieve when they believe they can! #resilientwomen #nevermoreneeded twitter...
09:07AM May 27
ColabExeter Day 24. Huge thank you to @ppe4exeter for giving our staff and volunteers PPE to help us continue to help the community. Looks like they get approval from two of our amazing volunteers! #nevermoreneeded pic.twi...
08:18PM May 24

Follow CoLab Exeter

colab logoCoLab, the new Exeter Wellbeing Hub at Wat Tyler House, is developing its own web and social media presence. Like us, Follow us, Bookmark us and keep in touch!

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