ONE of the first facilities in Essex giving people access to free services and training opportunities has been officially opened by the Right Honourable Simon Burns, Minister of State for Health and MP for Chelmsford West.
Over 70 people attend the launch event at the Parkside Community Hub in Melbourne Avenue, Chelmsford - a formerhealth clinic - which has been refurbished by us to provide the community with an information technology training suite; a fully equipped training kitchen; a multi-function room with crèche facility, meeting rooms and a communal garden space.
Working with Adult Community Learning, JobCentre Plus, Voluntary Sector Training, Women’s Aid, Chelmsford City Council, Citizens Advice Bureau and Essex Police, the Parkside Community Hub aims to enhance residents’ lives and provide them with the skills to gain employment.
Helping to increase their skills and qualifications and acting as a focal point for community volunteering, over 300 local residents have already benefited from the opportunities available due to the information technology, cooking, literacy and numeracy courses* held by us.
Taking place during school holidays, the Parkside Community Hub also offers activities and events for young people, including neighbourhood respect projects such as arts and crafts and cooking, educational trips and litter picking projects.
Part of a £10 million project, which saw Parkside Court and its surrounding area regenerated,the Parkside Community Hub was part-funded by the Government’s Investing in Communities programme through the East of England Development Agency and the Essex Regional Development Agency.
Chairman Martin Dean commented: “A facility like this is all about providing opportunities to local people and to develop a sustainable community. We have spent almost £11 million on this site. It’s a significant investment for us and it’s a project that is very dear to our hearts.”
Simon Burns MP said: “I’d like to congratulate CHP on this special day as it shows how to regenerate an area, which benefits local people as well as the community.”
Debbie Willson, Community Hub manager, said: “We’re delighted to have officially launched the Parkside Community Hub, which offers a different approach to tackling social and financial problems. The Hub provides free services and is primarily aimed at getting people involved in training so that they have the confidence and skills to make long-term changes to their lifestyle to help them back into work.”
Volunteer and local resident, Sara Stratford, 21, added: “I’ve been volunteering with CHP since 2009 and I really enjoy it as it gives the chance to meet new people. Since I’ve been volunteering my confidence has grown and I’ve gained qualifications in food hygiene, IT and first aid.”