When we asked you to tell us about Bostin Places in Sandwell, we were overwhelmed by the number of people who mentioned The Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick.
The centre in Church Road is so well-loved that more than 20 people got in touch within a matter of days to tell us just how Bostin it is!
The Dorothy Parkes Centre is a thriving community centre providing a variety of activities, projects, support and events for all members of the local community tackling issues such as physical health, mental health, obesity, social isolation, low educational attainment, poverty and unemployment.
From Baby Brunch, to Chatty Café, Youth Club to Places of Welcome, Fitness, Dance and a Community Allotment, open seven days a week, morning noon and night, a warm friendly welcome from a great staff team and volunteers awaits for all visitors.
For the past 21 years, the centre has served the community – welcoming 750 visitors a week and hosting more than 35 different community groups. And what people love is how welcoming the place and the people running it are.
It’s a place where people go to make friends, to enjoy music and hobbies, to learn and to get help and support. The team there do lots of work with people who are lonely or isolated, and who rely on the connections and friendships they make at the centre.
Staff and volunteers hold fantastic community and fundraising events and private functions, give help and advice and distribute food vouchers. The centre has won local and national awards such as Outstanding Smethwick Community Organisation, and Weston Charity Awards.
And it’s not just the centre that the community think is Bostin – it’s the people who work and volunteer there.
Robert Bruce and Jodie Griffiths are known for being able to help with just about any problem – and if they can’t help, they know someone who can!
“They have everything to cater for all ages, young and old. Very helpful. If they cannot help, they will put you in contact with someone who can.”
Volunteer Christeen Morton goes above and beyond in her role at the centre.
“Christeen goes above and beyond to ensure that attendees are all made welcome and nothing is ever too much trouble for her.”
“Christeen is a lovely volunteer, very friendly and runs an all-inclusive welcoming group at the Dorothy Parkes Centre. She arranges useful tasks and lots of different activities all with a wonderful sense of humour and makes everything fun.”
What’s really great about the place is how it’s helped people to find friendship. Many of the people who attend the centre would otherwise feel isolated, or may have lost a loved one recently.
“It’s very friendly and welcoming. There are loads of activities and sessions available for all ages. Since going there I have made several friends, learned to crochet and make jewellery. I would be lost without it now.”
“I visit the Dorothy Parkes Centre often because they put on a lot of activities which help me to get out as I lost my husband recently. I have already made a lot of friends by going there. I also volunteer at the centre.”
Well done to the Dorothy Parkes Centre team for being so fantastically Bostin – not only a Bostin Place to be, but full of Bostin People who mean so much to the community they support.