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IT WILL be hearts and flowers all round at Foundation House this month as Stratford Town Trust celebrates the hub’s first birthday by encouraging thanks and kindness.

Foundation House, on Masons Road, officially opened in February 2018, to build a community of charities, local groups, social enterprises and changemakers in Stratford.

Providing a wide range of office, storage, meeting and activity rooms for a big range of organisations, at the heart of the hub was always its ability to bring local charities and groups together under one roof, to support each other and share ideas, resources and expertise.

One year on, and it’s a real success story. Foundation House is now a long-term base for 14 organisations, with more than 50 others using the spaces for meetings and events.

To celebrate, Stratford Town Trust, the grant-making charity which established and runs Foundation House, is putting its heart into showing the love throughout February – to coincide with both Valentine’s Day and Random Acts of Kindness Week, which starts on February 17th.

A kindness tree, made by Stratford Men’s Shed, who are based at Foundation House, will be taking pride of place within the hub, with everyone invited to hang a heart with a message of thanks, and to think of even more ways of helping each other.

“We think this is such a lovely way to mark our first birthday – and the first birthday of the really special community this building has brought together,” Rachel Key, from Foundation House, said.

“Acts of kindness that are seemingly so small can make such a big difference, and the community here is teeming with them; from the arm of friendship groups like the Men’s Shed extend, to the donations given to the Stratford Uniform Bank. Personally, I’ll be hanging a note to thank Penny from Welcombe Radio for planting spring bulbs outside the building here, so it’s literally all hearts and flowers!”

A 1st birthday Community Café will also be held – between 10am and 11.30am on Friday February 22nd – when everyone’s invited for a chat over a cuppa and a slice of cake, and a chance to see and add to the kindness tree.

The Foundation House community includes: Change Grow Live; Escape Arts; Heart of England Woodturners; Rubbish Friends; Safeline; Second Thoughts Drama Group; Shakespeare Lions; Stratford Ambulance Association; Stratford Army Cadets; Stratford District Radio Society; Stratford Men’s Shed; Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project; Stratford Uniform Bank and Welcombe Radio.

And the many other groups that use the spaces for meetings, events and activities.

Acts of Kindness collected so far include:

“Thanks to the Safeline counsellor who quietly noticed one day that I was run ragged and exhausted. Without a word she popped out and bought me a sandwich and a packet of crisps to reenergise me. What a lovely lady!” From Becky at Rubbish Friends.

“Thanks to Welcombe Radio, for asking my partner to talk about being dyslexic, he found it so valuable to talk about something he has kept hidden for many years.” From Ali at Warwickshire County Council

“Thanks to Rachel at Foundation House – for coming in early on a Friday – on your only day off – to open up for me to prepare to teach my lovely students of Welcombe Hills. The whole process of coming to Foundation House felt like a serendipitous act of kindness, not only to me but the wonderful young students of the school.” From Bobby at PharmAveda

“Thanks to John from Men’s Shed for giving me some beetroot from his allotment!” From Rachel at Foundation House.

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