Gather CIC, Churchill Centre, Dudley

A community café and hub is to double in size at The Churchill Centre in Dudley, to enable it to increase its activities.

Gather, a community interest company (CIC), was previously on Dudley High Street for three years, but moved to Churchill Shopping Centre in October 2019 but has only been able to trade for a total of 11 months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has established itself as a valuable community facility, offering a ‘Crafternoon’ group, a repair cafe, live music and other events to bring people together.

Now it is expanding into the adjacent unit after landlords LCP, the Kingswinford-based commercial property and investment company, saw the hub’s potential and offered the additional space.

Loraine Stockton who runs Gather with partner Stu Homer, said the extra space will enable them to offer more opportunities for creative and artistic events and activities to take place, as well as creating space for local artists to exhibit their work and local makers to sell their wares.

“Although we weren’t able to open to customers during the lockdowns we have still opened for a few hours on a Saturday to continue our offer of free Fareshare food, donated by the local Tesco to help reduce food waste and this is available for anyone who’d like to use it,” said Loraine, who with Stu, has a background in the charity sector.

“Gather is all about bringing people together and creating a space that is non-judgmental, welcoming and open to all.  Along with our offer of great coffee and food, it’s a space where we can help people make things happen and thanks to LCP, we have more room to do this.”

Rob Ellis, senior asset manager at LCP, said: “We could see that Gather had already made an impressive impact on the local community and we were keen to help it continue its good work in the heart of Dudley.”