Village resource centre to close

By Juliette MaxamINCREASING affluence in Britain's largest village has led to the forthcoming closure of a community resource centre set up to help the unemployed.

By Juliette Maxam

INCREASING affluence in Britain's largest village has led to the forthcoming closure of a community resource centre set up to help the unemployed.

The community resource centre in Tiptree in is due to close its doors for the last time on December 22. It started more than 20 years ago in response to escalating unemployment at the time, which particularly affected the younger people of the village.

Since then activities at the centre developed from its roots as an unemployment centre to a much wider base and a source of family help for all ages.


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At its peak, it provided assistance not only for Tiptree residents, but for a wider district from Colchester to Braintree, providing help for the unemployed, the homeless and many other people who had encountered hard times.

In recent years, the focus of activities has been on computer training, a furniture project for the needy, as well as the continued drop-in facilities.

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But the increasing affluence of the area has reduced the need for the centre's activities, a factor that has been taken into account by funders who have given grants in the past, but which have diminished to the point where closure is the only option for the facility.

Colchester Primary Care Trust will continue to run the community clinic next to the resource centre until June when the lease expires.

The trust is now reviewing a number of options to maintain a clinic-based service in Tiptree after June, one of which is the possibility of buying the existing lease.

Gail Newmarch, its deputy chief executive, said: "We appreciate the reasons behind the decision to close the resource centre in Tiptree and thank colleagues very much for their hard work over the years in supporting the resource centre.

"Since we use half of these premises to provide a range of community services we will now be looking to secure an alternative lease or alternative venue from July 2005.

"I wish to assure local residents we have no plans to withdraw the provision of community health services from Tiptree."

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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