West London mission has ambitious plans to transform its building in Seymour Place into a thriving hub for the whole community to enjoy. The centre is currently open to rough sleepers each morning, serving a hot breakfast to 100 homeless people, providing showers and access to essential medical services. For much of the day, the building then sits underutilised, with only the top floor office space occupied.
The Grade II listed building on Seymour Place.
The Grade II listed heritage building was originally the home of Emma Cons – the founder of the South London Dwellings Company and The Old Vic theatre. West London Mission are looking to draw on this cultural past, to create a welcoming space for the community. The centre will still focus on supporting homeless clients in the morning, before opening their doors each afternoon. The plans include a pop-up restaurant, temperance bar and a busy programme of events and exhibitions to celebrate the history and heritage of the area, whilst providing training and job opportunities in hospitality for their homeless clients.
The communal community space will also provide a venue for workshops and classes focused on local un-met needs; including support for those with a gambling addiction, groups for isolated women and those experiencing long-term unemployment.
Spot the difference! Proposed transformation to Seymour Place.
The first stage is to conduct a feasibility study at a cost of £71,435. This research will assess the changes that can be made to the listed building, scope building costs, prepare architectural drawings and engage the community. West London Mission are calling on local residents and businesses to pledge their support via Crowdfund London.
Launched by the Mayor of London, successful campaigns are backed by a donation of up to £50,000 from the Mayor. The success of a campaign is demonstrated by the amount of support received in the first few weeks following its launch. West London Mission have between now and 8 October to demonstrate the support they have for their idea. If £71,435 has not been raised by 17 December, all funds will be returned to the donors, so time is of the essence.
The new community space will create apprenticeships and jobs in hospitality for the homeless clients.
The Paddington Partnership will be running a volunteer programme with West London Mission; encouraging local businesses to provide advice, mentoring and support with social enterprises, employment skills and marketing. If you are interested in being involved with this, or supporting the fundraising effort at West London Mission, please contact our Community Programme Manager, Emily.