TOWARDS the end of last year people living and working in South Ockendon and Belhus were asked what they wanted to see in a new-style community hub.
The South Ockendon Centre is now fast taking shape and has been designed to include many of those ideas put forward during the consultation.
The new centre will incorporate library services as well as a wide variety of council and voluntary group services.
Cllr Lynn Worrall, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for Transformation and Community, said: “This is the first step in what will become a massive change to the way the council engages with local people.
“We asked what those in Ockendon and Belhus wanted and have tried to come up with something that provides most of that.
“But it is important to remember the council is having to change the way it works. This centre – and any other similar hubs we develop – will be somewhere where people are provided with the help they need to access the service themselves.”
When the centre opens, visitors will be greeted by volunteers who will help point them towards professional staff or provide signposting on who to contact and how to use computers if necessary.
Cllr Worrall added: “Working together; the voluntary sector, the public sector and the private sector can combine to offer a tremendous support network for the frail, elderly and vulnerable – somewhere for them to turn to.
“Community hubs will be much more than simple physical spaces – they will be a focal point enabling local people to take charge of local issues with the aim of preventing potential problems becoming real ones.
She said: “Obviously the role of the volunteers is another key to these centres. We already have a strong group at Ockendon, but we’re always on the lookout for more.”
Anyone interested should contact ngage on either 01375 389893 or email@example.com; the South Ockendon Forum on 01708 852530 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or the Thurrock Council for Voluntary Services on 01375 389881 or via www.thurrockcvs.org”
Earlier in February Year 6 pupils at the Shaw Primary Academy in Avon Green, held a Poetry Workshop with poet Justin Coe. After a short explanation of the project and poetry, the children experienced the difficulty of having to create something for a specific purpose, rather than a self-inspired piece of art.
The poem will be “unveiled” at the official opening of the South Ockendon Centre in the spring, but it closes with the lines:
And maybe we can be a bit loud
But we are who we are
And we are proud