Fringe Box



Making The Garden Great At The Community Learning Centre

Published on: 20 May, 2021
Updated on: 20 May, 2021

Clearing the garden at the back of the Community Learning Centre in Southway, Westborough, on Friday (May 14) was a task a number of volunteers eagerly stepped up to do.

The aim is to create a space that can be enjoyed by the community – and local people will soon be asked for ideas on what the garden should contain and look like.

Some of the volunteers helping to clear the garden at the Community Learning Centre at 109 Southway, Guildford. Pictured with them is SLLP’s Rosalind Spencer (second from left); the chairman of SLLP’s trustees, Ann Rouse (green jacket); next to her Westborough Guildford Borough Councillor Julia McShane; and on the far right, the chief executive of SLLP, Kevin Delf.

The centre has a great deal to offer. From giving free advice on many everyday things such as employment support and CV writing, to family health and wellbeing, managing on a tight budget, and more.

Free courses are also offered, again on a range of subjects, such as basic computer skills.

The centre is run by Surrey Lifelong Learning (SLLP), a charity whose main mission is to help people who wish to return to learning, to gain new skills, qualifications and employment.

It’s already well known for its Bike Project, a social enterprise that takes donated unwanted bikes, recycles and sell them as well as servicing bikes, while training people in bike maintenance at the same time.

109 Southway has been the local shop for selling the bikes (its workshop is based in premises at Guildford Borough Council’s depot in Woking Road), but a good deal of its bikes are now sold online.

Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership’s Community Learning Centre at 109 Southway, Westborough.

SLLP launched its Community Learning Centre project in June 2019, using the cafe at the Park Barn Centre. With the centre closing in March 2020, due to the pandemic, SLLP was determined the project should continue and in March this year it re-opened at 109 Southway.

Dave Pascoe from SLLP said: “We strive to help people with anything and everything. People drop by and we do not have any expectations about them. We find out their needs and then tailor our help and advice to the individual.

“What really matters to us is improving people’s lives. They can come into the centre for an informal chat and to find out what we offer. All our advice is free and there is free broadband if they need to use it.”

The centre is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 2pm. All with Covid safe distancing, and so on.

It has just launched an art club on Thursday afternoons and evenings. Free to attend, take your own material, refreshments provided. It’s best to book, call SLLP’s Rosalind Spencer on 07904 909013.

It also hosts interesting speakers. On Thursday evening, June 24, at 7pm,  Zeff Kapoor will be talking about his work with the United Nations World Food Programme. It 2020 it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

After living and working abroad for many years, Zeff has now returned to the UK and lives in Guildford.

Rosalind has also been setting up a further help and skills centre based at the Guildford Nursery and Family Centre in Hazel Avenue, Bellfields.

It is open on Tuesdays from 10am to 2pm. It is offering small and friendly sessions giving help and advice to parents for their children in the months ahead as the pandemic subsides. For more details and to sign up, call Rosalind on the number above, or on 01483 487892, You can also send her an email at

You can also email Dave Pascoe at for details about 109 Southway.

The garden at 109 Southway BEFORE work started on it on Friday, May 14.

One of the volunteers helping with the garden tidy-up was Ben McCallan from the environmental group Zero Carbon Guildford, whose objective is to help the borough of Guildford reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

In its own words, it: “Will be platforming solutions and practical guidance to help us all – individuals, businesses, and organisations – work together in a fair and equitable way. We aim to model and employ local solutions to tackle global crises, and in doing so make Guildford a pioneering town in how communities come together to face existential challenges.”

Ben said he was delighted to part of the garden volunteers, and the plot at Southway will certainly go to help build up a network of similar plots Zero Carbon Guildford is working on.

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