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Havering Volunteer Centre celebrates successful launch

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 May 2016

Shelley Hart

Shelley Hart

Archant

The CEO of a volunteering charity says she is "delighted" to be celebrating their success after the shock of closure last year.

Havering Volunteer Centre (HVC) formally opened in October 2015 but will belatedly celebrate its grand opening on Thursday, due to technical setbacks.

The event at the centre, in High Street, Romford wawill bes attended by new Mayor Cllr Philippa Crowder and new champion for the voluntary sector Cllr Viddy Persaud.

Shelley Hart, CEO, said: “We are delighted.

“I always say, if volunteers striked for one day, the whole of Great Britain would come to a halt.

“People don’t realise how many roles they fill in society.”

In September, Havering Association of Voluntary and Community Organisation (HAVCO) announced it would close due to funding issues.

Shelley worked for HAVCO as the volunteer centre and quality manager and said volunteers were distraught after the announcement.

She said: “It was very hard. People were in tears in the office when we learnt the news.

“They had dedicated their lives to volunteering and had many personal reasons for doing so.”

Struck by the passion for volunteering, and determined for the good work to continue, Shelley decided to carry on the centre.

Now she says, the hard work has paid off as she sees volunteers holding valuable roles in the community.

She said: “We always thought that the volunteer centre was safe from closure, so it was a great disappointment.

“A lot of people relied on us and we knew we had that experience to run the charity.

“We help a lot of organisations and it’s great to match people with their interests.

“Currently, we have somebody who would like to volunteer their skills as an embalmer, and I’m trying to find a role for her.

“That’s a little bit more specific but it shows you the range of roles we try to match people too.”

To find out more about the centre, visit haveringvc.org.uk or call 01708 922214.

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