The John Betjeman Centre is sited in the main building of the old railway station at Wadebridge, Cornwall.

The last train left Wadebridge at 17.20 on the 28th January 1967.

In the 1980’s a total of £300,000 was raised from voluntary contributions in order to refurbish it and extend it’s size. It took six years to complete and was accomplished in 2 phases.

Firstly the old building was converted from its derelict state and opened on the 1st of April 1989. In the second phase the additional rooms were added.

When it was officially opened by Viscountess Falmouth on the 29th May 1991, she remarked how lovely it would be if every town had such a comfortable centre as the John Betjeman Centre.

Fast forward to 2018 and the community hub had a major refurbishment costing £450,000.

The building had extensive roof repairs and complete restoration of the railway canopy and the inside of the building has transformed to accommodate new toilets, a modern kitchen and a community café.

Concern Wadebridge supports people over 50 and/or have a disability but the centre and its facilities are open to everyone to use. It hosts daily a variety of classes and activities, and the rooms are available to hire for everything from charity events to children’s birthday parties.

Manager Emma Burt said: “There is something really special about the centre, it has a real community buzz where everyone is made to feel welcome.“ Our in-house activities are for all ages and our rooms are hired by lots of local clubs and host a variety of activities from energetic Table Tennis and aerobics to Trade Fairs, the Centre is also home of Wadebridge U3A, Memory Cafe, Stroke Group and a lot, lot more. In the evenings we have Wadebridge Bridge Club, InTune Choir, Yoga, a WI called Betjeman Belles and Man Down, a support group for men. We also have Tai Chi, complementary therapies and the very popular Cuppa Companions where people can get together for a chat with a good cup of tea. Our café offers a range of food throughout the day from cooked breakfasts and bacon baps to hot lunches like roasts or fish and chips to panini’s – to suit every budget.”

As well as the centre, Concern Wadebridge has a fleet of vehicles which provide hospital transport and occasional trips and can be hired by local community groups and schools.

Concern Wadebridge relies on a strong team of volunteers who help the day to day running of the centre from greeting people at reception, serving refreshments and helping with fundraising. 

Emma added: “We would be completely lost without our wonderful volunteers they do so much to help the centre and charity. It’s lovely for our customers to see familiar smiling faces. Our drivers provide a lifeline for people who would otherwise not be able to get to appointments. But we always need more so if you have a spare couple of hours each week or would like to go on our drivers list please do not hesitate to contact me.”

The charity also offers a Shopmobility scheme where people can hire wheelchairs or mobility scooters to help them access the town centre or the Camel Trail or hire them whilst on holiday.

The Centre opens Monday to Friday 10am-4pm (apart from Bank Holidays)

For more information about activities at the centre, to hire rooms or to become a volunteer contact Emma on 01208 812392.