VOLUNTEERS are giving a Ross-based community project a final lick of paint and a clean up as it prepares for its formal opening on Saturday.

@the HUB is a community project, in Corpus Christi Lane, which will provide a space for all, to improve quality and conditions of life, to develop skills and to meet local needs.

Its aim is to provide a safe place, a haven, a place of peace, a place of respite.

Milly Boylan is the driving force behind the project. She has been supporting the people of Ross for over two years and has a background in support and care work, with experience working with young care leavers, challenging behaviours, addictions and homelessness.

The idea for @the HUB began when Milly was working as a support worker but had nowhere suitable to meet people to discuss their needs, and to give them the support they needed to live their lives.

She was often to be found in coffee shops in town, and that is not conducive to private conversations.

Milly explains that @the HUB was created to fill a gap for support workers and small support groups that couldn’t afford their own space.

Milly began by renting a room in a local venue and so Warm Welcome was born. It had a tiny kitchen and a pool table, and a separate room for meetings.

The numbers of people attending quickly outgrew the space, and the decision was made to move to a bigger room.

The hub will be a non- threatening and non-judgemental space to meet with support workers or other agency staff, to access help and advice with benefits, debt, housing issues and health and addiction issues.

A signposting service for those with nowhere else to turn, and no-one else to ask.

It will also be ‘an address’ for those with no other. It will be a place to be respected, and to show respect to others. To come together for the greater good. To play a board game, do a puzzle, watch a film or simply sit and chat.

There will be internet access, workspaces, laundry facilities and bathroom facilities. It will be staffed by paid members of staff, and volunteers, who will listen, who won’t judge, and who will make and develop further connections with those who have no other forms of social interaction available to them.

With only days to go before the new facility is opened by the High Sheriff of Herefordshire Patricia Churchward on Saturday, Milly said: “We’ve come a long way since we took over the building and began renovating it with the help of many local tradesmen and businesses, who have donated their time or products to the project.

Milly added: “The way the space has been designed is so that it can be multipurpose from early morning breakfast clubs to meetings as a group, or one to one.

“We have been offered the services of community pilates and other such activities. Effectively it is a large social space that needs to be used. We have a number of zoned areas for seating.

“It is anticipated that the hub will be used as a communal space in the mornings, like hosting a film club once a week, while the afternoons will be reserved for appointments.”

Milly concluded that it is basically a facility for the disadvantaged in Ross to use during the day, to shower, to wash their clothes, to have a hot meal, and a quiet cup of tea or coffee.

“We seek to help those who do not have the resources to provide for themselves the normal trappings of life which most of us take for granted, and therefore to improve the quality of life,” she added.