It’s the end of an era for a Bath-based community organisation which has helped promote volunteering opportunities for more than 25 years.
The Volunteer Centre has announced it will close at the end of March. The charity which runs the Volunteer Centre – who operate from a desk at the Central Library – says its financial situation means it is unable to continue managing the service beyond March – that’s despite its income from the council, which is not being reduced, and other sources.
However, the services it provides will continue, with support from Bath & North East Somerset Council and Virgin Care.
Both B&NES Council and Virgin Care say they recognise the important contribution it has made to the community. They are working together to ensure that its services are continued after March despite the formal closure of the Volunteer Centre as an organisation.
The Volunteer Centre, which has served the local community and local charities for almost thirty years, gives guidance to potential volunteers, local charities and local companies.
Fiona Bell, Chair of Trustees at the Volunteer Centre said: “As a small charity, we have increasingly found it difficult to generate the total funds needed to cover our very modest costs. Fundraising for charities like ours is always challenging, even though our work benefits the more than three hundred charities with which we work, as well as thousands of volunteers.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved, knowing that the community has benefited substantially from the work of volunteers as a result. Thank you to all our staff, volunteers, donors and those organisations, which have funded our work over the years.
“We would not have survived so long without the energy, enthusiasm and professionalism of our wonderful manager, Mike Plows, who has become Mr. Volunteering in B&NES. He was deservedly given a Chairman’s Special Award at the Community Awards ceremony in 2014. We also want to thank Amanda Stone, as well as a small army of our own volunteers.
“We are pleased that Bath and North East Somerset Council and Virgin Care are keen to continue our services and we will keep all our partners on developments and what any changes may mean to them.”
Councillor Paul Myers, (Conservative, Midsomer Norton Redfield) Cabinet member for Economic and Community Regeneration, added: “ On behalf of all the residents of Bath and North East Somerset I want to thank the organisation for its commitment to the community and supporting volunteers for almost three decades. Whilst we are sad to hear the organisation is closing I want to reassure people who use the service that it will continue with the support of the Council and Virgin Care.”
A spokesperson for Virgin Care added: “The Volunteer Centre have done amazing work in the community, connecting local people with volunteering opportunities. Today’s announcement is very sad, coming after so many years of success but we will be working hard with the council to ensure that volunteers and organisations continue to work together and we will continue to invest in volunteering support in Bath and North East Somerset after April 2018.
The Volunteer Centre’s website can be found at http://www.vol-centre.org.uk