A charity is crowdfunding to open a community café and shop.
Becki Simmons from Southsea launched Spark Community Space in October last year and is now taking the charity to the next level by raising funds to open a physical space.
The mum-of-two was inspired to start the charity after undergoing emergency brain surgery eight years ago, which turned her life upside down and left her with a very different lifestyle to the one she had before.
She had to relearn many skills and was unable to return to her job as a company secretary in a high-pressured environment as a result.
She is hoping the charity will help people, who don’t feel like they fit in, to access the support and services they need.
Becki’s plans for the space are to have half of it as a community café, with cakes and toasties on offer, to give people a safe and welcoming space to come when they need it. The other half is set to be a charity shop to help pump money back into Spark.
She will also work closely with other local charities and organisations and will signpost people to services that others offer that people may need.
She is aiming to raise £10,000 to go towards the space and said: ‘I want to focus all of my energy on helping people and doing all I can for them, rather than worry about the financial pressures.
‘Covid has shown us how tough it is to stay indoors, but for some people this is their every-day norm. In normal times, when we’re not in lockdown, people are fighting to leave their houses, but then when they do, they often feel like they don’t have a safe place to go.
‘The space will welcome anyone who feels pushed aside or overlooked by society, whether that’s because of illness, disability, redundancy, lack of qualifications or any other reason. We will meet people, wherever they are in life, without judgement.
‘A physical space will allow our community to grow and gather. It will be an invaluable space for people to share a cup of tea and a cake, gain skills and purpose through volunteering and access training towards regaining confidence and a sense of belonging in society.’
People who donate will get rewards, from stickers and t-shirts, to the top reward of choosing the name of the space.
Portsmouth City Council have offered to match any money raised up to £5,000.
The campaign launches on Saturday, February 13 and will run for four weeks.
People can donate at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/find-us-a-space-to-call-home