COMMUNITY groups from south east Northumberland have thanked a charity for its support and guidance as it celebrates its silver anniversary.
The Wansbeck Centre for Voluntary Service (CVS) was set up in 1987 to help community groups across the county to grow and deliver projects which would help improve the quality of life in the area.
It provides groups and individuals in the community with access information and advice around constitutions, funding advice, fundraising, training and volunteering brokerage.
Over the past 15 years the organisation has enabled groups to gain £15m of funding for a wide range of projects, with the cash in the main being spent locally, helping to regenerate the community.
In addition, they have registered 2,000 volunteers and supported 500 volunteer-involving organisations to develop policies
The charity officially marked its 25th anniversary at an annual general meeting at the Newbiggin Maritime Centre last week.
Four volunteers from groups the charity has supported over the years were invited to speak at the event.
The speakers were Carol Sullivan, co-ordinator of Northumberland’s Macmillan Bereavement Service, Ann Widdrington, from the Toy Library in Ashington, Bill Ogilvie, chairman of the Bomarsund Welfare Cricket Club, and Karen Cook, chairwoman of Wansbeck Disability Forum.
There was also a buffet and entertainment by Barry Straughan from the Wansbeck Male Voice Choir.
Ann, a community empowerment worker, who has been with the Toy Library since its creation in 2001, said: “Right through the ten years they have always been a constant in our lives.
“They have always been there to offer advice, support or direct contact.
“Hopefully in another 25 years, we will all be stood here doing this again.”
Bill added: “Our priorities in society should always be to try and look after the young, the elderly, the infirm and those suffering from deprivation.
“With the Wansbeck CVS behind us, we can all play a part in that.”
Anne Lyall, chief executive of the organisation, said: “It has been lovely hearing from the groups.
“Everything they had to say came from their hearts.”
Chairman Mike Goodman, who is retiring after seven years with the organisation, said: “I have mixed feelings.
“I have been doing the job a long time and I have enjoyed it.
I have had a lot of support from staff and board members.
“It’s been an experience.”