Staff face redundancy at Volunteer Centre

Dacorum Information Centre, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead.
Dacorum Information Centre, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead.

The Volunteer Centre Dacorum will make two of its long serving staff redundant as cuts in funding begin to take their toll.

The Hemel Hempstead-based service, which has placed more than 10,000 people in volunteer roles over the last decade, is slashing its staff by half in a bid to protect the centre’s future.

Chief executive Richard Pitts said: “In the current economic climate all charities are struggling to get funding, particularly smaller ones with limited resources. Over the past few months and years, Volunteer Centre Dacorum has been active in seeking out additional funding, grants and support to boost the grant they receive from Dacorum Borough Council.

“In addition we have run several fundraising events and Marks and Spencer’s Hemel Hempstead branch designated us as their charity of the year 2014.

“Despite all of this activity we have been unable to secure the additional funding we anticipate and in order to manage the charities finances we have been forced to make redundancies.”

The charity is making the positions of co-ordinator for promotions and marketing and the supported volunteering role redundant, which means the organisation will say farewell to Lorraine Rockminster, who has been there for six years and Sara Woodley, who has given 10 years service.

It really is a sad loss that we are losing two members of staff who have been with us for a long time.

Richard Pitts, chief executive

Mr Pitts said: “It really is a sad loss that we are losing two members of staff who have been with us for a long time.”

He stressed that the cutbacks are part of a recovery plan rather than a closure plan and said the savings are being made to protect the volunteer centre, which is based in The Roundhouse in Marlowes.

“We now have a strategy in place for recovery and will be delivering all of our standard services supported of course by our trusty volunteers,” he said.

“We have been successful in preparing people for he workplace, giving them back their confidence and self-esteem after life changing situations and we will continue to support our community and volunteering just as we always have.

“We would like to thank our volunteers, our staff, the charities we work with and everyone that supports us.”

The Volunteer Centre receives an annual core grant from Dacorum Borough Council, which is topped up by other grants from elsewhere but a squeeze on funding means the charity has been using its reserved to survive.

“We thought before using all of our reserves we would put forward a more long term plan,” said Mr Pitts.

“Our expenditure exceeds our income and this plan makes sure that this balances.

“It is a recovery plan rather than a closure plan. It is difficult for a lot of charities.

Under the restructure a new self-employed position will be created that will focus on generating fundraising and income for the volunteer centre.