The original Vineyard was a project envisaged by the late Alfred Upstill, a probation Officer and Minister of the Vineyard Congregational Church, where the ‘Vineyard Project’ was housed in the basement and ran for 33 years until 2012.
He saw it as a place “for the healing of personal loneliness, the development of a sense of community and the breaking down of divisions in the locality, facilitating communications between sources of help and points of need”.
Sadly Alfred did not see his vision of the Vineyard Project materialise and it was the elders of the church who agreed that RABMIND should set up a day centre, in the then crypt, as a memorial to Alfred. In 1977 Penny Wade was appointed as manager and was determined to make Alfred’s dream a reality. Penny devoted 21 years to The Vineyard Project and together with a team of volunteers helped thousands of local people in distress.
RBMind continued to manage the Project until an announcement of closure was made in early 2011 as RBMind could no longer afford to keep the Project open.
Since its closure in March 2011 the deep concern of local churches and many in the community about those who need help in the area led to the formation of a new charity called the Vineyard Community Centre. This new charity is now responsible for running the Centre.