Celebrating 30 Years of Supporting Families: Mill Bank Wellbeing Centre
10 August 2023
Mill Bank Wellbeing Centre has reached a significant milestone, celebrating 30 years as a beacon of hope and support for homeless families in crisis. For three decades, Mill Bank has been a fundamental service in Preston, providing invaluable support to families of all backgrounds and helping them overcome the barriers to living life in the Community, including debt, mental health issues, substance misuse, domestic violence, seeking refuge, and child services involvement.
The service is embedded into the City Centre Community and is recognised by not only the local authority, but key external stakeholders as a central hub which allows for a multi-agency approach to be provided. This maximises resources and allows collaboration from a range of partner agencies, which ultimately supports the best possible outcomes for our Customers, who are at the heart of everything Mill Bank do.
A Journey of Empowerment
At Mill Bank, the journey begins when families arrive in crisis, classified as homeless by the local council. Each family is assigned a dedicated Support Worker who collaborates with them to create a personalised support plan. This tailored approach empowers families to address their debts, develop essential life skills, manage their mental health, and ultimately transition to a positive tenancy in the Community.
The Mill Bank experience is about more than just addressing immediate needs; it fosters an inclusive and diverse Community that embraces all cultures and beliefs. This environment encourages families to learn new skills, grow in confidence, and feel part of a supportive Community, which, for some, is an entirely new experience.
A Legacy of Impact
Over the past three decades, Mill Bank has touched the lives of approximately 5,000 families, guiding them towards a positive and secure future. While Mill Bank has seen lots of change over the decades, the core mission of Mill Bank has remained clear - to support families in crisis and help them get back on their feet.
Throughout its history, Mill Bank has evolved to meet the changing needs of its families. The centre expanded its services, adding The ARC - a garden office that provides a private space for Customers to receive counselling, art therapy, and support. It also opened its doors to local agencies, offering them free space to provide their services promptly and efficiently, avoiding long waiting lists for vulnerable families.
A Memorable Celebration
The 30th anniversary was a momentous occasion for Mill Bank, marked by a heart-warming celebration held at the centre. The event brought together current and former Customers, local agencies, Colleagues from across the business, and even the Mayor of Preston, who fondly remembered the service's inception and was deeply impressed by the impactful work taking place.
The highlight of the event was undoubtedly the sense of Community that has remained unwavering over the years. Mill Bank has always been more than just a service; it is a tightly-knit family that supports one another through challenging times and celebrates each success, big or small.
Becky Mayman, Services Manager at Mill Bank, shared her heartfelt thoughts on the significance of the centre's 30-year journey:
"Mill Bank is a very special place and means so much to so many people. For me personally, having started working at the service part-time as a Customer Support Coordinator 12 years ago, I remember then being blown away by the sense of Community. Over the 30 years, things have changed somewhat, but that sense of Community remains the same. Working with homeless families in crisis isn’t always easy. Having a strong team that supports each other through the difficult moments makes Mill Bank an amazing place to work.
The team has our families at the heart of everything we do, always striving to make things better for the families we support. Our families are incredible. They are able to work through some really challenging times with support. There is no better feeling than when a family moves on into a permanent home. Homelessness is devastating and isolating. By having a homeless provision like Mill Bank, families are offered a safe haven in crisis, and not only do we support them with finding a permanent home, we provide the confidence and skills that enable them to manage a household."
A Bright Future Ahead
As Mill Bank Wellbeing Centre celebrates 30 years of empowering families and changing lives, it looks ahead to an even brighter future. The centre remains committed to its mission and values, continuously adapting to meet the evolving needs of families in crisis. The sense of Community and unwavering support that defines Mill Bank will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of those it serves. Here's to another 30 years of impact and compassion!