New home for Uttlesford district volunteers

VOLUNTARY organisations that make a positive difference to the lives of thousands of people in Uttlesford have officially opened their new home in the district.

Saffron Walden MP and honorary president of the Council for Voluntary Service Uttlesford (CVSU) Sir Alan Haselhurst cut the ribbon at the Uttlesford Voluntary and Community Centre in Great Dunmow on Friday. Dozens of volunteers joined dignitaries, police representatives and others to celebrate the event.

The centre, which occupies the former police station in Stortford Road, now provides a permanent new home for the CVSU – the charitable company which provides support, advice and help to all voluntary sector and community groups across the whole district - along with four other charities.

Joining the CVSU in the Uttlesford Voluntary and Community Centre are West Essex Mind, Carers UK Uttlesford, Voluntary Sector Training and Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services, providing a wide range of services and support.

The new facility was established after the CVSU moved out of the former Uttlesford District Council building in Great Dunmow because it was being sold.

Thanks to a �20,000 grant from the district council and help from the Essex Police Authority, renovation work was carried out and now, 15 months later, the Voluntary and Community Centre is fully open for business.

The centre houses 10 offices along with a new kitchen, a new reception area and meeting room available for use by the local voluntary sector.

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It is open to the whole community of Uttlesford, who are encouraged to drop in or call 01371 878400 to find out more information about services and activities available at the centre and throughout the district.

Uttlesford district councillor and chairman of the CVSU, Cllr Eric Hicks, said: “The building has been here since 1845 and was the first purpose-built police station in Essex.

“We are delighted that it is still in community use and look forward to making it the hub of voluntary sector services for the whole district.”

Cllr Robert Chambers, the district council’s cabinet member for finance, helped secure the building for the voluntary sector during his time as chairman of Essex Police Authority.

He told those who attended the opening: “There was a lot of interest in buying it, but what better use could you have than voluntary services being here? Without voluntary services, I do not believe the country could run.

“I wish you all very many happy years in here and I know all the people you help will be grateful.”