AFTER a years-long search for suitable premises one of Govanhill’s longest-serving and most respected charities has found a new home.

The Well has been serving the Southside community for 27 years – but its Albert Road home was cramped and not fit for purpose.

Now, thanks to support from Southside Housing Association, the support service is moving to a new build site on Allison Street.

It will give 50% more space for the Well Multi-Cultural Resource Centre to continue its work supporting the area’s newest residents.

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Sarah McPhie of the charity said: “It’s been a long, long, long search but we were so keen to keep in the Govanhill area that that limited us somewhat.

“We wanted a good landlord as well so this is a great opportunity because it’s with Southside Housing Association, who we have a good relationship with already.

READ MORE: Govanhill advice service The Well celebrates 25 years

“So it’s a big residential development and there’s going to be a commercial unit in the bottom for us and we’ll kit it out with a period rent-free while we’re getting set up.

“It will be draft free, and the lights won’t flicker. We’ll have gas central heating and all these glamorous things we don’t have.

“We’re really, really excited about it. It will be wonderful.”

The Well was founded by the Church of Scotland and is a high-quality information and advice service for ethnic minority communities.

In 2011 it became an independent charity and has evolved to include English classes with a men’s class following soon after the women’s, IT sessions, a mother and toddler group and a women’s Chai and Chat group.

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Staff also run cultural awareness training for organisations working cross-culturally. The Well’s services see as many as 8500 visits in a year.

It deals with extremely complex cases and helps people who have nowhere else to turn.

When it was first founded the largest group of people needing support were those coming to the city from Pakistan but now the centre supports people from dozens of countries. 

The Well has expanded over the years to provide other services but the space has not expanded with it.

Sarah added: “We have one room that is the only private area for advice consultations if someone’s trying to talk to you about private things, so personal information is overheard, although we do our best to juggle about into this one room if people need private space.

“The new place is 50% bigger so there will be more space for our activities like Chai and Chat, which gets quite crammed.

“The waiting area will double in size. For the volunteers it will be so much nicer to have an environment they feel more comfortable in because they’re coming in for three and a half hours at a time.

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“It will be an attractive space and it’s important to honour people with the environment they are in.

“The longevity of The Well is fairly significant in the area but I think in a way it feels like we’ve finally got the space the community deserves.”

While the new build is an exciting move for the charity, service users and volunteers say they are fond of the old building and will miss it.

But concerns have been alleviated by the fact the group is remaining in the area, although moving across the road to Strathbungo.

During lockdown The Well stopped face-to-face appointments and moved to a telephone service but, with clients preferring in-person services, the charity was deeply affected by the crisis.

Volunteer numbers have also declined but the service is hoping to attract more helpers now that services are returning to a sense of normality.

The Well’s Chai and Chat service is a much-used lifeline for local women who take part in arts and crafts and social events.

These have been held outdoors during the pandemic but with winter, having more space to hold groups indoors will be vital.

Sarah said: “We’ve just adapted. The first lockdown was a shock to all of us but we’ve worked hard to keep services going.”

The Well now needs to raise £140,000 to kit out the building and fundraising has begun in earnest.

Its New Building Appeal is on social media (@TheWellGlasgow) and is starting with a Christmas appeal to raise £2000.

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