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.
Support has poured in for Becki’s idea to help people who feel like they don’t fit in to reach the support and services they need, following Becki’s own journey after undergoing emergency brain surgery.
Portsmouth City Council have offered to match any money raised up to £5,000, and a crowdfunder launched on Saturday hopes to raise £10,000 to go towards the space.
Mum-of-two Becki 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 everyday 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.’
Becki’s plans for the space are to have half of it as a community cafe, 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.
People who donate will get rewards, from stickers and t-shirts to the top reward of choosing the name of the space.
The four-week campaign launches on Saturday, February 13. Visit crowdfunder.co.uk/find-us-a-space-to-call-home to donate.