Monday, 16 August 2010

Hubble Bubble... health and collaboration!

Last Wednesday I enjoyed a lovely cycle ride in the sunshine over to Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge to see the new Healthy Hub building. The bike racks were next to some outdoor gym equipment which I understand has been installed in 5 parks in Dudley Borough - helping them to be 'Healthy Hubs', part of Dudley's Healthy Towns Initiative. There was a man exercising on the equipment and I was rather intrigued so I had a bit of a chat to him and discovered that he uses the outdoor gym for an hour a day, that lots of people come to the park early in the morning to use it, and that now it's the school holidays a lot of children and young people use it during the day.

I wanted to see the Healthy Hub because Dean Hill, who co-ordinates Healthy Towns work, had mentioned to me that there are meetings rooms available in the Healthy Hubs to hire free of charge. I also wondered whether the Hub Stourbridge, a new initiative, might have reason to link with the Healthy Hub. Shelley Jackson-Woodall, a volunteer representative for Hub Stourbridge had agreed to join me to see the Healthy Hub.

It seems that the two Hubs are very different in terms of the thinking behind them, however they both have something to offer people from Stourbridge and further afield. The Healthy Hub will be a great community resource, supporting all sorts of activities taking place in the park and will make available a lovely meeting room with kitchen facilities in a fantastic park setting.

Hub Stourbridge is more about nurturing a collaborative community of professionals and volunteers, enabling networking and a sort of cross-fertilisation of expertise in different fields through the provision of a shared workspace with hot-desking, meeting facilities, a cafe and creative areas. At present Hub Stourbridge is building up a network of ambassadors and potential users, and growing a group of people with the skills needed to take on the running of a building in the centre of Stourbridge. I’ve put my name down for a few hours a month hot-desking, as I really like the sound of the Hub Host who will be able to point me in the direction of people working in completely different sectors and fields to me but who might be able to offer advice on things I’m working on.

I’m also keen to see what another development - The 3rd Place in Halesowen (which also has a Hub – for youth activities) might also have to offer in a similar vein.

Shelley and Dean seem keen to promote each other’s Hubs, and I can’t wait to have meetings in the park and meet people at Hub Stourbridge. As I left the park there were 5 women using the outdoor gym equipment - on the bikes and other stations, chatting and exercising. Stourbridge really does seem to be getting healthy and connected!

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