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Betel UK’s new headquarters in Aston
Throughout the recent lockdown, work has continued on a new multi-purpose venue called ‘Anchor Point‘ in Chester Street, Aston. The former magazine distribution warehouse is to house a range of social enterprises, an arts performance suite, a dance studio, conference and meeting facilities, a community outreach centre, a cafe with soft-play area and a resource library.
The 45,000-square foot Anchor Point building will serve as the national headquarters of Betel UK. Betel is a faith-based, independent charity whose aim is to restore men and women whose lives have been affected by drug- and alcohol-addiction and homelessness. Free entry to Betel UK’s centres is offered to those wanting to recover from addiction. Currently around 350 people are in residence in Betel’s centres in Alvechurch, Derby, Nottingham, Manchester, Hexham and Motherwell. Founded in 1996, the Betel UK centre at Windmill House, Alvechurch, was the first to be established in the UK. From that time until now, the work of Betel UK has been led by Kent and Mary Alice Ellis, who first joined Betel in Spain in 1991.
At each Betel UK centre, residents participate in a daily routine of worship, community activities and work. Betel operates a number of social enterprises which provide employment for its residents and raise funds for the ministry. One line of work is the restoration of furniture, which is then sold online, or in shopping outlets. Examples of this are the ‘Restored’ shop, which sells furniture and food in Stratford Road, Shirley, and ‘Betel UK Furniture,’ which operates in School Road, Yardley Wood.
Upon completion, the Anchor Point building in Aston will enable on-the-job training to be offered to Betel UK residents across a wide range of business- and arts-related skills. The whole project should be complete by September 2021, though some parts will open within the next two months. Approximately half the £6m funds required have been raised so far. The aim is to open the entire building debt-free next autumn.