Crucial role of new Forfar centre

Councillors Jeanette and Iain Gaul lend a hand to get the new volunteer centre ready. They are helped by staff members Lynne Orrock, second right and Kirsty Soutar, right.

Councillors Jeanette and Iain Gaul lend a hand to get the new volunteer centre ready. They are helped by staff members Lynne Orrock, second right and Kirsty Soutar, right.

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A NEW centre which will benefit Angus people is making progress in Forfar.

Local councillors were enthused on Thursday by a first glimpse of the new facility and its potential benefits for Angus people.

The centre, run by Voluntary Action Angus, is a crucial part of the county’s combined efforts to ensure better outcomes and enhanced quality of life for local people. It will host a range of organisations under one roof and deliver extensive support training and opportunities for local people and wider access to voluntary services.

Centre manager Lynne Orrock welcomed the councillors stating: “This is a very exciting opportunity for the people of Angus. At VAA we already have our Arbroath base which is used by thousands of people and many community voluntary and statutory organisations.

“The new centre in Forfar will open up enormous potential for people in the inland area of Angus. In this new centre we will house many voluntary organisations, provide learning and crèche facilities, support community and voluntary organisations and develop new social enterprises”.

The centre, which is due to open on May 3, is seen as a vital part of community engagement and services to local people and has cross party support within Angus.

On visiting the new centre leader of Angus Council Iain Gaul said: “Angus Council is fully supportive of Voluntary Action Angus. We see it as a highly valuable partnership we want to work with and pledge to work together for the whole of Angus. This new centre is an example of the progress being made in VAA and the important role of the voluntary sector and volunteers in the county.”

Voluntary Action Angus, formed with the merger of the Angus Association of Voluntary Organisations and Volunteer Centre Angus, is hopeful the Forfar centre will build on the area’s already significant third sector strengths and further enhance the area’s reputation as one of the leading areas in the country for volunteering.

The organisation hopes to replicate the success of the Arbroath projects in Forfar and meet the challenges of issues such as the rural nature of Angus that can present difficulties in accessing training opportunities.

VAA is also hopeful young people may use volunteering to their advantage in developing a CV that will enhance their prospects of moving in to employment.

The planned opening of the new centre will give the building, at the foot of St James Road, a new lease of life.

It will be remembered by locals as the former office of printers Oliver McPherson, before it was taken over by Universal as a call centre.

Latterly it played an important role as a recruitment office for the nearby Asda store.

Anyone wishing more information about volunteering, running a local community organisation or social enterprise is asked to contact lynne@voluntaryactionangus.org.uk