THE Countess of Wessex spent time with local parents and played with children in Woking last week, as she opened the new Jigsaw Hub.

The latest project of The Lighthouse, based next door to the charity’s centre in the High Street, the Jigsaw Hub is open for drop-in sessions on Mondays and Thursdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm for children under five years, during term time.

“Our team are thrilled as we recognise a growing need for universal access services for families with young children and we just can’t wait to see the place full of life, noise and biscuit crumbs!” said a spokesman.

The Lighthouse charity hosts a range of projects to support those in need, including a foodbank, debt advice, community meals and a clothing bank.

Since 2006, Jigsaw has been providing children’s equipment and clothing to families in need, and the new hub will now look to extend that service to include “stay and play sessions”, parenting courses, baby massage and wellbeing workshops.

Sophie has volunteered at The Lighthouse a number of times, most recently at Christmas and spoke of the value of volunteering as she officially opened the hub: “I certainly got so much out of my time here and I hope to continue to do bits of volunteering for you because it’s a wonderful community that you’ve created here and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Playing with children and chatting with parents, she also met volunteers who had refurbished the new space, and joined in a workshop on self-image and clothing, aimed at women and mothers who wish to increase their confidence.

The charity received funding from the Community Foundation for Surrey and The Litchfield Trust to refurbish and launch the hub. Refurbishment of the space – formerly printers shop Headline, but empty for several years since the business relocated – took three months. All the timber used in the refurbishment, such as the cladding and café bar counter, is recycled timber from local social enterprise charity Useful Wood Company.

“It’s been amazing to be part of this project,” said Neil Warren, one of the refurbishment volunteers. “I was at the launch, and it was lovely seeing the place being used by all the kids and mums.”

For more information about Jigsaw Hub, visit

For more pictures of the royal opening, see the 3 March edition of the Woking News & Mail