Psychological therapies, drug and alcohol support sessions, and employment classes resumed at an Epsom charity this week after a fire ravaged its town centre premises just weeks before Christmas.

A woman suffered burns to her face and smoke blanketed the town centre as a fire damaged Epsom Hub, La Piccola café and the adjoining Lloyd’s pharmacy on December 8.

From December: Woman suffers 'burns to face' during fire at La Piccola cafe in Epsom High Street

Despite firefighters stopping the fire from spreading further, The Surrey Hubs’ Epsom branch in the High Street was forced to shut due to the extent of the damage.

Epsom Guardian:
Pic credit: Alan Wadey

Volunteer Development Worker Caroline Fowler believes it could be as long as six months before the Epsom Hub reopens at its original premises.

Mrs Fowler explained she was on her way back from a Christmas dinner in Dorking with the service’s staff and volunteers when she heard about the fire.

“It was a massive curveball that took us all by shock,” she said.

“I felt really tearful and emotional and shocked.

“When we were allowed inside the next morning I was shocked at the damage.

“From the front it doesn’t look quite as bad as it actually is. That is when it sunk in that we weren’t going to be able to have services out of that Hub for some time.”

But the Epsom Hub, part of a county-wide service that provides information and support to help people stay independent, opened in its temporary premises at 126 High Street on Monday (February 13).

Epsom Guardian:
Owen Watson (volunteer), Caroline Fowler (Hub Manager) and David Mackenzie Parks (volunteer)

The Hub team celebrated with tea, coffee and cake, as it welcomed back its volunteers and customers.

The service had been helped by market traders, members of the public and staff at the Brickfield Centre, a county-wide service promoting recovery, independence and social inclusion, who dropped off supplies after the Hub’s closure.

Epsom Guardian:

Mrs Fowler said: “We’re just really pleased to be open and to see so many of our volunteers come back.

“The community has been really helpful and supportive.”

Epsom Guardian:

The Epsom Hub has launched a domestic violence campaign to coincide with Valentine’s Day. To find out more, or to access the Hub’s services, visit the Epsom Hub’s temporary premises at 126 Epsom High Street.

For more information, visit http://www.thesurreyhubs.org.uk/