A creative hub in Bude, Cornwall, known as the Pearl Exchange, has launched a fundraising campaign to raise £50,000 for the renovation of its new premises. The Pearl Exchange, which focuses on supporting the mental health of young people, was established in memory of Pearl Bamford, who tragically passed away in 2019. Since 2020, the charity has been operating from a small building with a beautiful ocean view, but it has now outgrown the space. The managing director, Fliss Loxley, has announced that a new location has been found in the centre of Bude, but it requires renovation work before it can be fully utilized.
Over the past year, the Pearl Exchange has provided its services to 450 individuals, conducting an impressive 235 workshops from its current base on Crooklets Road. Among those who have benefited from the charity’s offerings, 78 people have received free one-to-one counselling, with several sessions provided to each individual. Loxley stated that Pearl Bamford herself would have greatly benefited from the work done by the Pearl Exchange, as she faced difficulties in finding places to pursue her creative interests and struggled to access mental health support through the NHS.
The Pearl Exchange has managed to secure a long lease on a former gallery located on Broadclose Street, effectively doubling its available space. Loxley expressed her excitement about the prospect of having more room to operate as a creative hub, offering drop-in sessions and workshops throughout the year. However, the charity is in urgent need of funds to cover the renovation costs, which include installing a new central heating system and adding insulation to the building.
Several individuals who have benefited from the services provided by the Pearl Exchange have expressed their enthusiasm for the move to the new location. Lea Judge, 26, noted that the current space has its limitations and is becoming too small for the growing community. They also highlighted the meaningful connections they have made with other young people in the area and expressed their excitement about the future possibilities. Sayer Clark, 24, added that the centralised location of the new premises would make it more accessible for everyone, particularly during the winter months.
With the new premises secured, the Pearl Exchange is now actively fundraising to cover the costs of the necessary renovations. The charity aims to expand its services, provide a dedicated creative environment, and cater to a larger number of individuals seeking support for their mental health.