History of the Volunteer Centre
New Mills and District Volunteer Centre was launched in November 1983, being set up by the local Clergy Fraternal to help disadvantaged people in the community, on a purely voluntary basis. Mostly the help offered involved shopping and befriending elderly and housebound locals.
A committee was set up to oversee the work of the Volunteer Centre, with Rev. Barker as Chairman and Mr Albert Lee as Treasurer. A paid Organiser was funded by the Manpower Services Commission in 1985. In this initial period the work was undertaken from an office in New Mills Town Hall. From June 1987 the Centre moved to an upper floor at 80a Market Street – some will remember the steep stairs!
These independent premises enabled new groups to be established for the benefit of people who had become isolated. In November 1988 Barbara and Nigel Fisher were appointed as co-organisers, and the work of the Centre gradually expanded. Under their direction the Centre obtained a major grant in 1992, through the Integration into a Rural Community (IRCOM) scheme, to help disadvantaged people become involved in socialising activities. This funded an IRCOM Co-ordinator and an Administrative Assistant at the Centre for three years, dedicated to re-integration work, with the involvement of volunteers.
In November 1993 the Centre moved to 41 Union Road. The extra space facilitated the organisation of group activities within the Centre. These have become a significant feature of our service to the community, distinguishing us from conventional Volunteer Bureaux.
Ten years later in November 2003 the Centre moved to the current custom-developed premises at 33/35 Union Road following receipt of a major Lottery Community Fund grant and several smaller grants from other organisations. This building has considerably more space and is fully accessible. It not only serves the needs of the Volunteer Centre but also allows a number of rooms to be available for hire to other local organisations.