Swindon’s newest town centre community project launches a three-month programme of events and exhibitions this week themed around health, wellbeing and creativity.

The Hub - which opened just one month ago - has already hosted meetings, concerts and a Christmas market. Now the volunteers behind the project are busy planning the next event, “Exploring Art as Therapy” which will involve local artists, community groups and charities.

“We want the Hub to be a place where people can talk about things that really matter to them” says Josie Slade, one of the volunteers organising the programme. “Mental health and wellbeing have never been more important - and we have lots of people visiting the Hub who have something really important to say about that.”

The programme of events kicks off this week with a display of graffiti, specially created for the Hub by local artist Keith Bull. Going under his graffiti name of “Inca the mole”, Bull’s work links his own mental health experiences with his views on the environment, modern life, lockdowns and Christmas.

“Lockdown really made me think about how I could use art,” says Bull. “I decided to create a cartoon character called Mole who could travel with me online and express how I was feeling,” he added.

IPSUM is one of several local charities who will be supporting the project with art workshops, information displays and exhibitions.

“We’re delighted to have such a central location in Swindon where we can share all that we know about how art and music can help people with their mental health” says Barbara Lorusso, project manager at IPSUM. “Working with the Hub is a great opportunity to reach out and show what we can do to help.”

Graffiti artist Inca the mole agrees. “I’ve been helped a huge amount by local charities like IPSUM and Twigs community gardens - it’s a big comfort to know they are there for you, and I really recommend anyone who needs to talk to get in touch with them.”

The graffiti show will run until 15th January - following that will be displays of work by Swindon creatives as well as an exhibition of art created by Hub visitors at workshops and events throughout the start of 2022. Anyone wanting to find out more can email events@swindonhub.org.uk

Based in the former River Island building on The Parade in the town centre, Swindon Hub offers a welcoming café, retail stands for local crafters, a community arts space as well as areas for meetings and events.

The Hub is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 6pm - everyone is welcome to drop in and say ‘hi’.

Run and staffed completely by volunteers, the project aims to bring life to the town centre, to support communities and people from all Swindon, and to raise awareness of issues around climate and sustainability.

People can find more information about Swindon Hub on Facebook or at swindonhub.org.uk

Pictured: Josie Slade and Keith Bull