Volunteers take over old Essex police station

WORK is underway to transform Dunmow’s old police station into an information hub for volunteer services in Uttlesford.

The Council for Voluntary Service Uttlesford (CVSU) leased the grade-II listed building for the next five years with the option to purchase. An application has been submitted to planning authority, Uttlesford District Council, to alter the internal layout of the building.

If approved, the building will have a new reception and community information areas, a meeting room and a number of counselling rooms.

Chief officer of CVSU Sue Sumner told the Broadcast that the charity had been looking for a new base after having to relocate from the old council offices on the high street.

“The voluntary groups who were accommodated within previous offices wished to relocate together and wanted a building that was in a central location preferable on the high street and was visible to community. The old police station was vacant and met these requirements,” she said.

“However, it had been empty for several years and was in need of substantial refurbishment. Since moving in we have undertaken a general programme of updating including work on the roof, electrics, plumbing and have redecorated through out.

“We are still awaiting planning approval for the alterations.”

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Mrs Sumner explained that CVSU is looking to raise further funds to improve access to the building and other facilities for people with disabilities.

“We will have to raise further funds to carry out this work,” she added.

Currently there are seven voluntary groups occupying the building: Uttlesford Carers, West Essex Mind, Essex Forum, Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services, Accuro, Voluntary Sector Training and the Council for Voluntary Service Uttlesford.

All these groups provide a range of services within Uttlesford, and act as an ‘information hub’. They do not place volunteers with voluntary organisations.

This role is taken on by the Uttlesford Volunteer Centre which is based at Saffron Walden Community Hospital in Radwinter Road