Government dish out £340,000 grant to turn Great Dunmow building into “well-being hub” for Uttlesford

From left, Eric Hicks (chairman of CVS). Jacqueline Davies (funding and information manager of CVS),

From left, Eric Hicks (chairman of CVS). Jacqueline Davies (funding and information manager of CVS), Kirsty Monk (business manager of CVS), Alison Wilson (chief executive of West Essex Mind), Doug Mason (chairman of trustees for West Essex Mind), June Milne (Great Dunmow mayoress) and Cllr Phil Milne (Great Dunmow mayor) outside the Old Police Station in Great Dunmow. - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of thousands of pounds has been earmarked to create a pioneering community “well-being hub” for Uttlesford.

Mental health charity West Essex Mind has been given a £338,872 Government grant to put towards the purchase and refurbishment of the Old Police Station in Great Dunmow.

The building houses a number of other local charities that provide services throughout the district.

Alison Wilson, chief executive of West Essex Mind, said: “The plan is that we will be able to gradually add to what is on offer and develop a well-being hub that will be a centre of excellence of services to Uttlesford residents.

“We are really excited about the opportunities that receiving this grant will open up to us all – the most obvious being that we no longer need to worry about where we would go if the building is sold.”

The grant is part of a £5.5million boost announced by the Department for Communities & Local Government to transform 17 community buildings nationwide.

Locally, the money will be used to repair the roof, replace the boiler and make improvements to the disabled access.

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While the day-to-day running of the centre, which also houses the Council for Voluntary Services Uttelsford (CVSU), will not change, the services on offer will be “enhanced”, said Ms Wilson.

For example, a key feature will be expanding the reception area to include space for a café in the reception area, making it a “go-to” place for the community. Information and advice will be available.

Kirsty Monk, business manager of the CVS, said: “We have really made a welcoming environment and we want that to keep growing in the future.

“We are very grateful we have had this opportunity. It has been a long journey but with a big miracle at the end.”

Built in 1842, the red-brick former police station once housed a magistrates’ court and chambers on its first floor, as well as space for a fire engine.

Its historic features include fireplaces, vents and grates.

Great Dunmow town mayor Phil Milne said it was “fantastic” the old building put to good use.

He added: “I could not think of a better purpose for the building. It is nice that Dunmow will be home to a main resource for the district.”

Refurbishment work is expected to be complete in June.

• Residents are being invited to join a steering group to get involved with the future of the hub. Anyone interested should email or call 07854 793 914.