Royal Voluntary Service welcomed the Mayor of Peterborough, Cllr Gul Nawaz to celebrate the re-opening of its community centre in Peterborough following completion of essential renovations.
Royal Voluntary Service’s Community Corner is a popular centre for older people on Cattle Market Road and was formerly known as the Senior Stop. Thanks to a legacy left in the will of one of the charity’s former volunteers, the centre has been able to complete vital refurbishment works.
At the opening the Mayor met with Royal Voluntary Service volunteers and regular Community Corner attendees, learning just how important the centre is to their lives.
Community Corner has been in the same building for a number of years and repair works were needed to meet health and safety standards, including a new customer toilet. Additionally, the centre needed to update its general décor and new signage to reflect the its name change.
A generous legacy gift left by former Royal Voluntary Service volunteer Margaret Gant was then used to fund a new kitchen area in the tea bar and new flooring. As a result Community Corner volunteers will be able to provide more activities and increase the range of snacks available.
Margaret, who lived in Cambridgeshire and died in 2015, was a keen supporter of the charity and chose to leave a gift in her will so she could continue to support the cause when she was no longer able to.
The Community Corner tea bar and social centre is firm favourite with many older people living in the area and has been running for more than 20 years with the help of 20 volunteers.
Around 150 members regularly visit the centre to meet with friends in the tea bar, socialise and also take part in a range of activities such as Crafty Corner, Knit and Natter groups and Friday quiz.
Royal Voluntary Service Community Corner service manager Julie Gibson said: “Margaret’s gift has been crucial to enable us to complete our essential refurbishments.
“We were unsure how we were going to fund all the repairs, so Margaret’s legacy has been a godsend. Community Corner is now better than ever. Our customers are really pleased with the changes and new name and we hope to welcome more people to join us.
“The tea bar and social centre offers a lifeline to many older people in the city – providing a dedicated space for them to meet and make new friends, stay connected and improve their wellbeing.”
Sanita Guddu, legacy and in memory fundraising manager at Royal Voluntary Service, said: “With many more people choosing to leave legacies to the charity, we are able to provide support to people who may otherwise be alone or forgotten.
“It’s natural that when a charity has been an integral part of someone’s life they would want to do what they can so that charity is able to still do great work in the future. Margaret Gant is a wonderful example of this.
“Leaving a gift to Royal Voluntary Service also enables people to support in a way they may not have been able to in their lifetime. We are so incredibly grateful for all gifts we receive.”
The team at Community Corner is also now asking for local residents to volunteer at the centre. It is looking for volunteers to gift their time to help in the tea room, as well as people to help with fundraising, marketing and events.
Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with more than 20,000 volunteers supporting thousands of people each month in hospitals and in the community.
The charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS.
Anyone interested in volunteering for Royal Voluntary Service at Community Corner should contact Julie.Gibson@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk or visit royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk.