Charity on hunt for new home after long-standing deal with Grosvenor Shopping Northampton unexpectedly falls through

Pink Rooster left disappointed as shopping centre's vacant unit no longer available and alternatives are not suitable for wellbeing hub

Friday, 28th May 2021, 4:50 pm
Updated Friday, 28th May 2021, 4:52 pm

A charity hopes it has found a new home for itself and a new wellbeing hub after an agreement with Grosvenor Shopping Northampton unexpectedly fell through.

Pink Rooster had hoped to move to the town centre shopping centre and open a wellbeing hub after more than a year of planning and funding in place.

But on Thursday (May 27), the Grosvenor centre told the Northampton-based charity the unit was no longer available but its suggested alternatives are not suitable.

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Pink Rooster chief executive David Maxwell (left) and Grosvenor Shopping Northampton manager James Roberts

Deputy chief executive Andrea Svajcsik said they have had positive talks about a new home but they have been left disappointed by the experience.

“Our proposed new innovative hub and retail space is a first for Northampton, and a great opportunity to engage and bring the community together," she said.

"Our aim is to improve the mental wellbeing of local residents and to provide a much-needed boost to the communities of Northamptonshire in what has been a dark time for many of us.

"We have been a registered charity since 2015 working tirelessly to bring comfort and support to many of local residents and communities and being fully embedded in our community is key to how we operate and, with the support of our local communities, our funders and partners we have a really valuable asset that we can bring to the town.

"It would be a great loss to the town if we could not open soon, as planned, for the sake of finding suitable premises”.

Established in 2013, Pink Rooster is an award-winning charity using music, creative arts and therapies to improve health and wellbeing, reduce social isolation and address marginalisation.

The charity's wellbeing hub would have supported employment, work experience and volunteering opportunities for residents as well as events and sessions designed to support their increasing mental health and wellbeing needs.

It will also serve as its base and it had secured three years' of funding to support the new venture, with the Grosvenor centre pledging to support it financially too, according to Pink Rooster.

Chief executive David Maxwell said they were ready to take occupancy of the vacant 35 Princess Walk within the next month or so and to open to the public as soon as possible following the lifting of Covid restrictions.

"We were told early on Thursday by the Grosvenor Centre that the offer had been withdrawn owing to an unprecedented demand for commercial clients to occupy all of the Grosvenor Centres vacant units," he said.

"Leaving us with the only option of a rather run-down shop unit with no toilet and a significant cost to bring the unit up to standard, which we simply can-not afford as a charity with limited resources.

"This has now left us stunned but more importantly without premises to open our much-needed wellbeing hub to support the communities of Northampton."

Grosvenor Shopping Northampton manager James Roberts said: “We understand that the owners of the organisation are frustrated and disappointed that the unit they originally expressed interest in, in 2019, within the centre is no longer available.

"During our discussions, we have been clear that our offer of a unit – support in kind - would be subject to availability and a formal agreement being reached.

"We recognise that Grosvenor plays a central role within the town and we remain committed to operating a sustainable business to support the local economy.”

“We have since been working with the organisation to find alternative units and have offered another location in the centre which may be occupied by the charity.”