The Welcome Centre
Under one roof in the old School-house next to St Thomas’ church, at 19 Val Plaisant, St Helier, there is to be found:
- A lively café selling coffee, tea cakes, soups, snacks and lunches
- Language classes – English for foreign students, from beginners through to advanced
- A shop selling religious cards and gifts
- Café Memoire – for people with memory problems, their carers, family and friends
The Centre first opened its doors in February 2004. The idea of establishing somewhere to provide a welcome to all, but particularly to those people who were newcomers to the island and perhaps in need of help, was the brainchild of Monsignor Nicholas France, the Catholic Dean in Jersey. Together with Mrs Antonio Colina and the then Lieutenant Governor, Sir John Cheshire, he set about raising funds to open such a centre. Antonia’s idea of including an art gallery within the Centre was adopted. The Welcome Centre, incorporating the Sir John Cheshire Gallery, was officially opened by Sir John on 10 February 2004, with Antonia taking on the role of Centre Manager.
The Welcome Centre has developed links with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, the General Hospital, the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Prison, the Probation Service and other bodies. There is now a successful alliance with Highlands College in Jersey and significant numbers of foreign students from Portugal, Poland, Russia, Spain, Brazil, France, Thailand and Germany, among other places, are receiving lessons in English to enable them to contribute more effectively to our island’s economy.
Following Antonia’s retirement, Mrs Manuela Vieira was appointed manager of the Centre in 2010, and in 2014 Claudia Reis succeeded Manuela Vieira as the new and current manager.
Language classes continue to take place in partnership with Highlands College.
The Catholic Gift Shop
The Catholic Gift Shop in the Welcome Centre offers a wide selection of religious cards and gifts and proves very popular, especially with parents celebrating their child’s First Communion or Confirmation.
Please direct all enquiries to Claudia Reis. She can be contacted on (01534) 767997 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.