What is the Hub on Rye Hill?


I was in a meeting recently and someone asked “how is the new Hub building progressing?” Silence was the stern reply, until one brave soul asked “What building and what’s this Hub all about?” Unfortunately I wasn’t able to join the conversation with an informative answer but I felt that as a ‘local’ I should know, so I decided to find out.

My first meeting was with Stephanie Faulkner-Smith, events and fundraising administrator and Katie Gurney, company secretary who both represent the Hub on Rye Hill which is the building currently under construction sitting directly in front of the Rye, Winchelsea & District Memorial Hospital. They answered all my questions and explained what the Hub was all about, how it had evolved, what and who it is for, how much it cost to build and who would benefit from it once completed.

Our meeting extended to a physical tour of the Hub where I met Rod Wooldridge, site manager for Jenner’s, the construction company. We battled the elements, donned our hard hats and hi-viz waistcoats and toured the whole building – a hive of industry with trades hard at it, well organised and very well managed, not an expletive to be heard nor a deafening ghetto blaster in sight just courteous workmen pushing hard to reach the completion deadline.

Stephanie Faulkner-Smith with Rod Wooldridge, site manager of Jenner’s construction, ‘on site’ and dressed for the occasion.

The building is being paid for with funds secured by the charities general reserves accrued over the years and from the sale of land to the rear of the hospital, bought by Greensleeves who will start to build a new care home in April next year which is the last piece in the jigsaw. The shortfall has been raised by fundraising, donations, bequests and patronages. Additional funding had to be found along the way due to unforeseen extra costs incurred with specialist archaeological surveys which added to the expenses and also delayed the build as a result. Despite this, and the challenging weather conditions, the original completion target of December should only be delayed by a few weeks.

Once the building has been commissioned it will be officially opened and realistically available for all to use in March next year. Before then there will be adverts running for volunteer and paid staff in varying roles which will be published in Rye News along with a regular ‘story book’ which will keep everyone updated with progress, news and events.

My next meeting was with Barry Nealon, chairman and Sally Compton, vice chairman of the Rye, Winchelsea & District Memorial Hospital, who with other board members have been the driving force behind the Hub. I was shown detailed drawings, artist’s impressions and given lots of helpful information which I can now pass onto our readers.

An artist’s impression of the front elevation with covered areas, cycle and mobility stores, outside seating and landscaped grounds.

In a nutshell, the Hub on Rye Hill is a multi functional building, designed as a community wellbeing centre (not a hospital as many believe). It is arranged in four main ‘zones’ namely therapy, social activity including a coffee shop, a large area for community activities and offices. An impressive foyer opens into the main reception area with huge atrium with comfy seating, to be used by all for a chat and a coffee and snacks from the café.

The therapy suites and activity areas will offer various treatments and activities such as Pilates, IT, bridge and art classes. A big screen with state-of-the-art surround sound system will be used for lectures, training, presentations and films. A lift and stairs give access to the first floor with impressive spacious viewing gallery and suites of offices.

Atrium above the hot desks, comfy seating and café.

Outside there is ample parking, landscaped gardens with seating area and so much more than I can cover in this article.

Keep an eye on Rye News as we will be running a regular story book to keep our readers informed of progress and nearer the time when the official launch date has been confirmed, why not come along and see what an amazing building this is but more importantly the exceptional standard of facilities on offer which could benefit all of us. Future plans include the opportunity for the building to be used for private functions, weddings and special events and hopefully groups such as running, biking and toddler.

Viewing gallery and atrium with office suites and lift adjacent.

There is still money to raise. About £12,000 is still needed to complete the fundraising and Rye News will be covering future fundraising events but in the meantime, the ‘Buy a Brick‘ campaign is still running and is an affordable way for anyone to help to get over the last fundraising hurdle. Wouldn’t it be great to tell your children or grand children that you bought some of the bricks which built the Community Wellbeing Centre? They could use the facilities and reap the benefits of your generosity.

You can make donations for the ‘Buy a Brick’  campaign on the Hub’s JustGiving page via the website, hubonryehill.org.uk, by email on fundraising@ryehospital.org.uk or by phone on 01797 223810.

Office suites offer flexible partition walls, ideal for small or large meetings and there is plenty of free parking.

Image Credits: The Hub on Rye Hill , Nick Forman .

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  1. But who is it for? I had the impression that this was going to be a day care centre for elderly people needing support, but this is starting to sound like a room-for-hire business. Who will receive the profits from this venture?

    • Dear Jane,
      The Hub On Rye Hill is a charity whose purpose is the health and well being of the community. No Wellbeing Centres make money and that certainly will not be the case with the Hub, as our whole objective is to deliver services to the community as cheaply as possible. What we will do, is seek to recover a proportion of our operating costs. The core users we are discussing occupancy with are St Michael’s Hospice; the Rye and District Day Centre and Rural Rother Voluntary Action all of whom provide important community health services. If it ever happened that the Hub had a profitable year , the charity would recycle the funds to provide more services. It can never distribute profits.

      Barry Nealon


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