Expansion Scheme for Millennium Centre Proposed

The Millennium Centre Board of Trustees are progressing Phase IV of the development, with the principle aim being to provide further office space and meeting room facilities to be utilised by the charitable and voluntary organisations of St Helens.

The land for the Phase IV site has already been acquired (adjoining the current Millennium Centre building on Corporation Street), and the Board are actively looking for strategic partners to inject funding for the capital expenditure for this site. A project team is currently being established to take forward the Phase 4 Project which is to include a new Pharmacy on the ground floor together with office/meeting room facilities.

If people wish to know more they can contact the Millenium Centre at contact@tmcsh.org.uk

The Millennium Centre was established to bring together health and social care organisations in St Helens, the Millennium Centre assists by the provision of office accommodation and meeting room facilities; over seventy different charities and voluntary groups now use the rooms for meetings, training, conferences, counselling, therapy and group sessions.

Anthony Richards, Executive Chairman, said “Over the last decade the Millennium Centre has been developing progressively, and is now fully serving the residents of St Helens.”

“On a personal level this has been an extraordinary journey – to take a project from concept to reality has been as thrilling as it has been challenging, and boy has it been challenging! I pay tribute to the Board of Trustees (both past and present) who have supported the project by their selfless dedication, hard work and wise counsel over the years; their only reward being the satisfaction of knowing that the Millennium Centre serves the community of St Helens through its many and varied activities.”

“And of course this has been a fine example of partnership-working; with many agencies and individuals uniting to carry the project forward, driven by a common vision and purpose; there are far too many to mention by name, but let me acknowledge the help of the St Helens District Blind Society, former St Helens Primary Care Trust, St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council, the Pilkington Family Trusts and the three Mayoral appeals that were held in 2000, 2002 and 2006.”

“It is gratifying to report that the Millennium Centre is fully operational and is fulfilling its original aims and objectives by facilitating a combination of charitable, voluntary and statutory organisations. And the uptake of use by external organisations in the charitable and voluntary sector has enhanced the centre as a strategically located central resource.”

“Now, the Board’s principal objective is to develop Phase IV of the project; this would give us full utilisation of the land available, and further extend the service that we offer to the charities and voluntary groups of St Helens.”

History of the millenium centre

In 1998 the St Helens District Blind Society identified the need to relocate the Blind Resource Centre (provided by the Social Services) closer to St Helens town centre; at the time the service was located in Parr, which was not very accessible to visually impaired people living in other areas of St Helens.

Against this backdrop, Anthony Richards (Chairman of the St Helens District and Blind Society) identified the old Rivoli Cinema as a development opportunity; an ideal location in the centre of St Helens adjacent to the town’s bus and train stations.

A number of voluntary organisations came on board in these early days. Between them, the Blind Society and the Physically Disabled Society donated the initial deposit for the site. In 1999 the land was purchased and the Millennium Centre (St Helens) Ltd was formed with the aim of developing a brand new purpose-built facility to meet the needs of the voluntary and charitable organisations in St Helens. Between 1999 and 2000, numerous other voluntary organisations pledged their support for the project. St Helens Health Authority had decided to submit a funding bid to the Department of Health for a Walk-in Centre that they proposed could be part of the multi-agency resource centre. The bid was successful and £1.8m capital funding was provided to build what is now known as Phase I of the Millennium Centre, largely the NHS Minor Injuries Unit and Walk-in Centre.

Phase II of the development was built to house some of St Helens’ local charities and voluntary organisations, such as Mencap, St Helens Carers and Alcoholics Anonymous. Millennium House, located on Bickerstaffe Street, was designed to house office space and small meeting rooms for these organisations to use. Unused office space was also converted into the Drop-in Lounge, acting as a more comfortable and informal location for counselling and self-help groups to take place in.

Phase III of the project was completed in 2005 and officially opened by the Duke of York a year later. This third phase was funded jointly between St Helens Primary Care Trust, St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council and the Millennium Centre to provide a mixture of NHS, Local Authority and voluntary services including the Housing Advice Centre, the Visually Impaired Resource Centre and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

To further enhance the function of the Millennium Centre to the local community, an on-site pharmacy was opened in 2009; the provision of this facility (open seven days a week) was
designed to complement the other agencies in the Millennium Centre, although the Pharmacy is open to dispense any prescription.

The funding which has made the Millennium Centre project a reality was raised with contributions from many individuals and organisations, and the Board of Trustees are now continuing with plans for Phase IV of the Millennium Centre.

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