Archive for April, 2014

Great news on a new Volunteering Hub for Stafford

Friday, April 25th, 2014

I am pleased to announce the plans for a new voluntary hub in Stafford which is great news for many of our local voluntary and community organisations and also means that our building at 17 Eastgate Street is being put to good use.

Not-for-profit organisation VAST, a key provider of services and support to voluntary organisations, charities, community groups and social enterprises across Staffordshire, will become the anchor tenant at the previously empty office.

VAST plays an invaluable role in helping a wide range of charities and community groups respond to their own communities’ needs, and will be responsible for managing the building and attracting other groups to rent space there. They will also provide practical support services on a wide range of subjects including bidding for funding, recruiting volunteers, staff training and how to tender for contracts.

Community plays a big part in Staffordshire life and as a commissioning Council, continuing to work in different ways, the voluntary sector has a key role to play in delivering services to local people. VAST and the new Hub will do just this and help support the sector, building capacity to deliver the best services possible.

The three storey building, which will be known as ‘The Hub’, is currently 70 per cent let with 18 organisations reserving space. And a note of history, the building was bought by the county council in 1919 and was the authority’s Treasurer’s Office for many years until staff transferred to the Tipping Street headquarters two-and-a-half-years ago.

On a different subject, with plans for the HS2 link due to reach a crucial point next week – when MPs will have the opportunity to debate the Bill to push the project forward – we have been working hard with our local communities to make sure our united voice is heard.

We held a successful workshop which provided an opportunity for key representatives from groups and organisations affected by Phase One of the scheme to find out more about the parliamentary process and share opinions on putting forward reasoned arguments to Government. While we are firmly against the project we know that it will be vital that we put forward strong arguments to mitigate the impact on Staffordshire and our communities.

The debate is likely to trigger the next stage of the plans where people directly impacted by Phase One of the scheme will be able to put forward their cases directly to their MPs. If approved the Hybrid Bill, which is effectively the planning application for HS2, will signal the go-ahead for the start of construction on Phase One in 2016.

You can keep up to date with the work we are doing around HS2 at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/HS2