SOUTH Ockendon was celebrating in style as the South Ockendon Centre marked its first birthday.
The centre is a three-way partnership between Thurrock Council, the South Ockendon Community Forum and the Thurrock Council for Voluntary Service.
Based in the former library building in Derry Avenue, the centre has proved a huge hit with local people with more than 130,000 coming through its doors over the past 12 months.
Thurrock Council’s communities portfolio holder Cllr Lynn Worrall, said: “The success of the South Ockendon Centre shows these kinds of hubs are the way to go – with communities and the council working together, locally, for the benefit of local people.
“The community hub programme is now moving forward at a pace and we are getting ready to launch the Chadwell hub and there are other communities across Thurrock all at different stages of readiness, but all working hard to have a hub that fits their own community’s needs.”
The South Ockendon Centre provides a wide range of services – supported by its team of volunteers who have put in 6,500 hours over the year – ranging from helping a 94-year-old lady who couldn’t get her rubbish bin emptied, which led to a vulnerable woman having an emergency life line fitted, to helping others who cannot read and write to complete official documentation.
Among the centre’s offer are housing officers who come in twice a day every weekday between 10am and noon,. And 2pm and 4pm; the Citizens Advice Bureau 2½ days a week; Dial twice a month; Vitality, helping to stop smoking, and giving diet and fitness advice; and a new book club launched on Wednesday, 26 March – 12.30pm to 2.30pm then fortnightly.