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Appeal for donations to ensure important town community centre can continue

There are only days remaining to help the Gateway Centre in Launceston reach their target of £40,000, ensuring their provision of daytime services that tackle issues such as social isolation, poverty and homelessness can continue.

Having been at the heart of Launceston since it first opened in 2013, the Gateway Centre’s central town location has allowed people to pop in, meet new people, join groups and clubs and seek support when needed. Not only is it home to Gateway Church, plus multiple community groups such as Knit and Knatter, table tennis, gardening club and Launceston Youth Music Theatre, it also provides a space for important organisations and agencies to connect with local residents to offer some support, including Community Money Advice. The on-site Cafe Avodah ensures it is a safe, warm space for anyone experiencing homelessness or poverty, and has a supportive, friendly team on-hand to offer warm food, drinks and a chat. 

Teresa with a regular centre user from Bowden Derra Park

The Gateway Centre is housed in a large building that is essential to meet the needs of the community, which is leased by Cornwall Council. They are able to extend the lease of the building for another ten years, but rent has soared. The Gateway Centre has been unable to apply for additional funding and, with their utility bills set to rise to around £70,000 this year, plus the increased rent, the team has been left with no choice but to raise as much money as possible to allow them to continue their vital services.

We met with Rev Kevin and Teresa Pickup, who run the Gateway Centre, on a busy Tuesday morning as they approached the end-of-April deadline to raise £40,000. 

Teresa, who can often be found leading the team in Cafe Avodah, said: “There is no day care provision in the whole of north Cornwall; we’re effectively doing that job for free. If we had to close, there would be six redundancies and it would mean all these groups wouldn’t have a place to go.

“In the future, we would like to set up a choice project for people who are neurodivergent, so that they can come to a safe space and have a choice what they take part in. We would also like to put a Christian day care, Ofsted-approved nursery in the building too, but of course we can’t get these projects going until we have the cash flow to support it. 

“It isn’t about the money in the till for us; it’s about the community. If everyone in the local area gave just a tiny bit to our fundraising appeal, I believe it would help enormously.”

Rev Kevin added: “We have been here since 2013 and the centre has grown to be a very popular community hub. It’s not just about wellbeing and finances; it’s about helping people to overcome addiction, offering support and welcoming lots of different people into the space. Diversity has always been at the heart.

“It would be great if the community could help us to cover some huge costs, and to help as a one-off appeal.” 

Bowden Derra Park residents love coming to the centre

Bowden Derra Park, a local care home for people with learning disabilities, is one of the Gateway Centre’s avid users. Team member Aaron was on-hand to tell Launceston Life just how important the centre has been to residents over the last year: “We really enjoy coming to the Gateway Centre. Our residents can build relationships, socialise and communicate with the local community.”

If £40,000 can be raised by the end of April, the Gateway Centre will be able to sign the new lease and seek funding to secure the future of the building and support the centre’s activities. A Just Giving page has been set up to raise as much as possible, and the community are urged to give what they can. The loss of such an important asset in the town would have a huge impact on community groups and local residents needing support with various issues. 


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