STRETFORD Hive opened its doors to the community last July -and six months on, it has become a vibrant and much needed community hub for residents.

Located on the first floor of Stretford Shopping Mall it offers an accessible, quiet haven from the hustle and bustle of shopping.

The Hive is a place where local people can learn new skills, connect, relax, socialise with new friends or be creative. It also acts as a community hub where local people can go for advice and useful information on health and wellbeing, getting a job or accessing training, setting up a business, or knowing their rights.

Stretford Hive has become a focal point of activity. It offers a weekly programme of activity sessions, which are intergenerational, family orientated, fun and mostly free to join in.

The sessions range from Bee Active Tuesdays, where local people can take part in yoga, dance, keep fit and even meditation. Other sessions include a craft skills exchange where people of all ages share forgotten arts such as knitting and crochet, a music and computer club, arts and crafts and alternative therapies such as aromatherapy and homeopathy.

Stretford Hive also has a gallery space where budding local artists of all ages can display their art for free. To date, a number of local artists have displayed their work in the space to great acclaim from visitors. The space has also been used for some interesting and unusual exhibitions such as the Ebony and Ivory slavery exhibition, which is still on display. The displayed images and artefacts have been borrowed from the Liverpool Slave Museum.

Recently customers were asked to give Stretford Hive a score out of 10 as a community space and it received an average score of 9.5. The following are quotes from members of the community about their experiences at the Hive: “The Hive has helped me in my recovery from a breakdown. I don’t know where my children and I would be without it.

“Everything it stands for promotes healthy living, community spirit and helping with mental health.”

Helen Jones, corporate director for economic growth and prosperity,interim corporate director, environment, transport and operations, said: “Stretford Hive is a fantastic project which has gone from strength to strength over the last six months. The Hive has established itself as a place where local people can go for information, help and support, inspiration or to unleash their creative side.”

Between now and July 2014 Stretford Hive has some fantastic activities planned. For example a tidy up project with local young people, focusing on the dangers and problems associated with litter and fly-tipping. Details of future activities will be announced soon.

Stretford Hive is a joint venture for a 12-month period between a number of key partners including Trafford Council, Trafford College, Gorse Hill Studios and SciLight at Blusci, a local social enterprise. The day to day running of The Hive is carried out by local volunteers.