New community hub in Hull opens early thanks to £3,500 award from Matthew Good Foundation

The Bank West Hull Community Hub was awarded the cash injection that enabled them to finalise their opening preparations after winning a vote by John Good Group employees in the Foundation’s Grants for Good scheme.

Michelle Taft - Executive Director of The Matthew Good Foundation presents a cheque for £3,500 to Rod Grimmer from The Bank after they won in a Grants For Good vote.It was only in February 2022 that the idea came to local welder, Rod Grimmer as he was travelling home on the bus, gazing out of the window. The iconic 1930s building he had passed so many times on the busy Derringham Roundabout in West Hull had been stood empty since the closure of the Lloyds branch in 2018. With a lack of community facilities in this densely populated area of the city – surely this local landmark building could be used to help the neighbourhood?

With impressive drive and determination, Rod and a small team made up entirely of local residents have been campaigning ever since to raise the funds and complete the work needed to turn this space into a much-needed resource for the local community, run by the local community. The project was quick to gain support not only from the owner of the building, but also with many offers of help from many local businesses, support from local organisations and backing from Hull West MP, Emma Hardy.

Having raised the funds and support they needed to get building and maintenance work done, the team were already making great progress when they applied to the Matthew Good Foundation, which is funded by The John Good Group, hoping to receive a share of £10,000 on offer in their Grants for Good scheme.

Four times a year, Grants for Good sees five charities shortlisted by a panel at the Foundation to receive a share of £10,000. Employees of The John Good Group then vote for their favourite to decide who wins the largest donation of £3,500.

In October 2022, the Foundation contacted The Bank to let them know that they had been shortlisted and would receive at least a £1000 share of the £10,000 fund. A few weeks later the result was in, and The Bank had won the vote convincingly, as employees even as far away as Felixstowe, were captured by the idea and got behind the cause.

“Myself and the local community members on our committee who have been invested in this project since February are overjoyed and extremely thankful to receive this funding. We know how important this is for the local community due to the enthusiastic response and feedback received form many locals and organisations. Thank you so much.”

Andrea Lillie, The Bank

The organisation had been planning to open in the new year, but the maximum amount of £3,500 awarded to the Bank helped to give them the financial boost they needed to get work on the main room and café facilities finished, meaning they were able to open a little earlier than planned on Monday 12 December 2022.

Since opening, the team have been exceptionally busy welcoming visitors and filling the facility’s diary with community groups, who can use the space for free. Groups of all kinds have been the first to benefit from the large facility which would otherwise have been unaffordable or too far to travel to, including a knitting club, a parent and toddler group and a school choir. Also, a local Pilates instructor is now able to offer discounted classes to the local community, ensuring the service remains accessible during the cost-of-living crisis.

As well as generating an income from the café, there are also plans to offer the facility as a music and events venue to raise funds and sustain the project longer term. Tickets are on sale now for their first event – an evening of gospel music with the Hull-based finalists of BBC Gospel Choir of the year.

With the main room now in operation, next the team plan to use the funds they have left from the grant to continue work on the rest of the facilities, which will include a consultation room – already booked out for Citizens Advice drop-ins – plus a media room, a multi-purpose community kitchen and snug, and disabled toilets and shower.

Michelle Taft – Executive Director of the Matthew Good Foundation, visited The Bank in its opening week to present them with their cheque and see the newly decorated facilities and was impressed with the team’s hard work.

“Rod and the team at The Bank are an inspiration; they have dedicated so much time to making this much-needed community hub a reality. Their hard work in securing funding and support from the local community shows how the idea resonated with people in the area, and it’s fantastic to see so many get behind such a worthwhile project. It was wonderful to see The Bank open and ready to welcome the community groups in the New Year.”

Michelle Taft – Executive Director, Matthew Good Foundation

Organisations and individuals in the area who are keen to join in the wave of local support for The Bank can find out more about how they can get involved on The Bank’s website or join their thriving community Facebook group.

The Matthew Good Foundation was created and is funded by The John Good Group. If, like The Bank, you have a project that you are trying to get off the ground, visit the Matthew Good Foundation Website to learn more find out if you are eligible to apply for Grants for Good – the Foundation’s first fund that invites local charities, voluntary groups or social enterprises that have an average annual income of less than £50,000 to apply to them for funding.