redevelopment of our church halls

Please donate to support our ongoing work to develop our community space and cafe!  We are thrilled that we now have the money in place for the major works to our halls, but we still need money to improve the existing toilets, to decorate the halls and to fit out our cafe.  Please help us! 

What are we doing and why?

The cavernous, underutilized space beneath Bournemouth Oratory’s Church of the Sacred Heart lies at the heart of Bournmouth town on England’s Dorset / Hamshire coast.  Bournemouth has numerous and varied issues (homelessness, and multiple addictive life-styles) and our vision is to create an accessible space, not just for our own parish, but for the use of the whole community, for which we have raised half-a-million pounds.

This vibrant hub includes a space for the use of the whole community, and a cafe run for and supported by the local community.  This bright and welcoming space will continue supporting current user groups like St Vincent de Paul Society,  Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, while also offering a space for anybody needing a warm welcome, support and training.

Our partnership with Autism Unlimited provides work experience and training in life-skills for young adults, leading them towards full independent living, for which they currently have very limited opportunity.  (Read more about Autism and their Futures programme below).

Our partnership with Bournemouth COAST (the local council’s Community Outreach And Support Team) provides restart opportunities for adults whose life episodes have limited their confidence at work and in the wider world.

Main building works on our new community hub will be completed in mid November 2023 enabling people of all abilities to access all the facilities.  More funds are urgently needed to further enhance the centre with individual meeting spaces, training areas and facilities, enhanced toilets and cafe equipment and furnishings.

Some images of the exterior and interior of the halls as they are now

Left Image: The perilous steps leading to the entrance to the Halls.


Right image: Once inside the foyer, more steps to access the main hall, and yet others to access the toilets, kitchen, office etc.

Left Image: View of the main hall from the stage.


Right image: View of the stage in the main hall from the Richmond Hill window end of the hall.

And some computer generated images of our transformed halls after the work ….

FUTURES with Autism Unlimited (formerly Autism Wessex) one of our agreed Partner Charities on completion of the Undercroft and Cafe Neri.

Sean wants to be independent – to learn and work locally, and live near to his family. He is autistic and has associated learning difficulties which have been a barrier to his ambitions. Sean is 18; options for further education, employment, supported housing, and community engagement, are limited and not in line with his personal aspirations.

We want to change the future for young people like Sean. Those aged 18-25, with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), should have the same chances as others and be part of, and contributing to, their own community. We provide pathways to employability, further education or volunteering. We enable the development of independent living skills, help with friendships and relationships as well as maintain good health and well-being.
Autism Unlimited invested in Futures, a project piloted in Christchurch in 2021. Futures is a 1-2 year programme with Learners attending a hub 3-5 days a week, depending on previous experience and existing skills. We focus on the delivery of four key outcomes, Community Inclusion, Employment, Health, and Independent Living.
This successful pilot demonstrates that our model works. Sean has a bespoke plan, tailored to him and his needs. He is part of the community, has started a work placement at a café, is being educated about nutrition and exercise, and will soon experience independent living in the Futures hub. This individualised person-centred approach is key to getting the very best results for Sean.
Futures is delighted to be associated with the Oratory’s Undercroft Crowd- Funding appeal, as we can see the potential for young people like Sean, to engage in real work environments; to practise the disciplines of work, and to develop hospitality and catering skills. The new café at the Oratory will offer a safe, supportive environment for young people with similar challenges to Sean. Many young disabled people will have brighter futures and fulfilled lives; be able to learn, work and live locally; and be part of and engage with their community, as a result of their involvement with this important project.
We hope that you will be able to support this appeal with generosity and commitment – to give a local community more opportunities to meet new and old friends, as well as providing the essential environment to enable disadvantaged young people to gain confidence and skills to be able to contribute to their communities too.

Graham Whitehead (for Autism Unlimited)