Shropshire Star

Duo behind maternity unit development reveal their community hub plans

A husband and wife team have revealed their plans to turn a former maternity unit into a community hub.

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The team behind the new plans: Jason Brough, Sami Watkins, Anabelle de Gersigny, Matthew Wade, Jim Pritchard

Anabelle de Gersigny and Matthew Wade who run award-winning Hundred House Coffee have launched a new Ludlow roastery and a separate creative community hub.

The pair have taken over a former maternity hospital in the heart of Ludlow to further expand their growing sustainable coffee business, but also give back to their local community.

As part of the development, a large community hub with co-working spaces is being created for people to rent, as well as a place to host programme of creative events that are set to run throughout the year.

The scheme has caused some controversy, after Annabelle and Matthew applied for an alcohol licence and the former maternity unit, but they insist there will be no bar at the hub and the drinks licence is only to allow for an occasional glass of wine at an arts showcase or film night.

Anabelle said: “We are really excited to get working on the project and to open the doors to Gather as soon as possible. We are committed to bringing something exciting and progressive to East Hamlet in Ludlow.

"We have invested our hard-earned savings in this project and believe in the possibility of creating something that is sustainable, nurturing and creative and we know first-hand the impact this can have on individuals and communities.

"We hope that people from all backgrounds working in all different industries will use this space and come forward with their own ideas for how the space can grow to further support the local South Shropshire community.

"We have some exciting programming ideas that we’d love to activate, like film nights, writing workshops and support for people setting up their own businesses.

“It’s been a long time coming and we can’t talk about the launch of Gather without mentioning Hundred House Coffee our coffee brand which is where it all started.

"Through that, we run a non-for-profit arts programme distributing a proportion of our profits to these initiatives. The Hundred House was the original meeting place within a community; you have to respond to what is around you and this building came up and lends itself perfectly to what we want to achieve."

Planned workshops at Gather include life drawing, writers for writers with renowned local writer Liz Hyder and analogue animation with Lewis Heriz.

Regular clubs that will also be hosted in the space that will include a film club, collage collective and book club for children.

The first event on the events programme will be an ‘Artist’s in Conversation’ with James and Tilla Waters, award winning ceramicists from Camarthan. This will be held on the 4th June.

An anonymous donation of £2,500 has been sent to Gather specifically for creative youth programmes.

The duo hope to open the space to the local community early this year and would love to hear from local businesses, individuals and creatives with their thoughts on what they would like to see at Gather.

People can now sign up to the newsletter through the Gather site to get updates on the opening and early bird mentions on the calendar of events.

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