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Charity: Welwyn Hatfield Community & Voluntary Service

PUBLISHED: 13:02 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:03 02 May 2017

WHCVS team members

WHCVS team members

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Helping community groups begin and grow, bringing skills to those in need and being a hub for like-minded projects, Welwyn Hatfield Community 
and Voluntary Service amplifies the power of volunteers

Setting up a voluntary or community group or finding the support of one can be daunting. This is where projects such as the Welwyn Hatfield Community and Voluntary Service can help.

Dr Dennis Lewis MBE founded the then WGC Fountain Society in 1968. This became the Council of Social Service, and in 1974 took on its current title. In 1989, Dr Lewis stood down as chairman and was made life president in appreciation of his dedication to the service and the community. The aims of the service are based firmly in a belief in equal opportunity for all and the power of community and voluntary groups to transform society for the better. It prioritises those groups or communities whose full participation in society is limited by economic, political and social disadvantage.

Explaining the function of the Hatfield-based charity, chief officer Carmen Dillon said, ‘We were set up to be an overall umbrella organisation to enable all voluntary and community groups to be in touch with each other. Also for the council to communicate to the sector through one channel. The WHCVS also plays a vital role in setting up and steering new projects and then withdrawing when they are out of the embryonic stage.’

Successful projects have included the Alzheimer’s Society, Victim Support, Furniture Recycling Scheme and the Welwyn Hatfield Ethnic Minority Group. Although the organisation was set up as an ‘enabler’ to raise awareness and issues and values of the voluntary sector, it also plays an important part in developing relationships and partnerships between the voluntary sector and statutory bodies.

One recent project WHCVS has helped deliver is the Welwyn Hatfield Community Car Scheme. Volunteers use their own vehicles to take people who are unable to use public transport, due to mobility problems or other special needs, to medical appointments, day centres, support groups, visits to family and friends and shopping. Last year the scheme carried out 3,469 health-related trips to hospitals all over the county and London specialist hospitals, covering a total of 61,291 miles. The booking scheme is available to those living in the borough and there’s a charge of 50p per mile.

The service also runs a centre that matches volunteers’ skills to local voluntary and community groups to benefit both giver and receiver.

If you are interested in supporting the work of the charity, it is currently seeking trustees with human resource, health and safety and accounting skills to join its management board. There are also opportunities for volunteers who can lead fundraising events, such as a quiz night (one is planned for this month), and for drivers to take part in the community car scheme.

To find out more, contact WHCVS, Gracemead House, Wood Avenue, Hatfield AL10 8HX, call 01707 273875 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm), email office@whcvs.org.uk or visit the website whcvs.org.uk

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