The Big Move

As we move into our 30th year, we are making lots of plans in relation to our big move. Some of you will know that after many years of conversations, we have agreed to leave Bath St and move into the old Stonehouse creek social club. This will enable us to bring all our services in Plymouth under one roof and expand and develop a new range of services. We anticipate taking about 3-4 months to make all the necessary alterations and have our fingers crossed that we will be in the new building by Christmas 2022. It is hoped that a lot of the work will be undertaken by people who use Shekinah’s services alongside our painting and decorating team. That said we are always keen to hear from local businesses or individuals who would like to help us in our renovations.

I guess for many of us and some of you, leaving Bath St will be undertaken with a mix of emotions. We have been on the site for 30 years and during that time, thousands of people will have walked through our doors seeking help and support. I often wish we had documented in more detail the stories that have been told over the years and the help that people received as I’m sure it would of made fascinating reading. I clearly remember my first day, which was 20 years ago this year, watching a long queue of mainly men waiting to come into Shekinah. What struck me was that regardless of their situation, everyone was greeted with a smile and a warm welcome, which for many was so important. It took me several months to understand that providing a safe space for people who could receive unconditional support was the key to what made Shekinah, I am glad to say that this has not changed, and we should never forget the importance of a simple smile and hello.

So, whilst somethings have not changed, I am pleased that what we can now offer people has changed. Alongside other agencies, our offer to people is far more comprehensive and whilst we still have challenges around accessing affordable accommodation, the support that is on offer is in some cases a million miles away from 20 years ago. I hope that our move will enable us to build on this and over the coming months we will let you know about some of the new services we are looking at developing. In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do and will be temporarily relocating our training services from Stonehouse St to Bath St, as we prepare to end the lease on our training centre. It will make Bath St a remarkably busy building but as mentioned before, we hope this will only be for a few months.

So finally, I would like to go back to my early days at Shekinah. There are too many people to name who were responsible for the birth of Shekinah, but to all of you and behalf of all of those people who have received support from Shekinah, thank you. Without your dedication, we would not be here today and whilst it is sad we are still here, there are many people on a daily basis that are glad we are. Equally without the support of our donors, supporters, and the local community, we would not be able to do what we do, so again from all the trustees, staff, volunteers and most importantly the people that use our services, a big thank you…    

John Hamblin
Chief Executive