The Colebrook Centre opens its doors to voluntary and community groups

Three voluntary sector organisations are setting up home in the newly opened Colebrook Centre in Winchester over the next week. Winchester Area Community Action, Age UK and Prospects are all relocating from their former base in St George’s Street, after working with Winchester City Council to find flexible accommodation to suit their needs. The new Colebrook Centre is located in one wing of the Council’s own City Offices in Colebrook Street and is a fully self contained office space with its own entrance and amenities.

Work began earlier in the year to help secure the future of vital voluntary services in Winchester because previous accommodation arrangements in St George’s Street were no longer viable. This change has also presented new opportunities

Cllr George Beckett, Leader of Winchester City Council said, “I am very excited about the potential for this project, which has enabled the City Council to support the voluntary sector whilst ensuring they maintain their independence and are able to continue providing excellent services to the residents of our district. It has also made it possible to use our buildings even more efficiently and further reduce the amount of space used by council staff.”

The new accommodation provides opportunities for closer working between the Council and voluntary sector partners.  Paul Williams, Chief Executive of WACA said, “We are really excited by the potential to build on the great work achieved in the Winchester Centre over the last 15 years and to work with the City Council to develop flexible facilities that will benefit even more voluntary organisations across the whole Winchester District”.

Philip Voce, Chairman of Age UK commented, "Age UK Winchester, until recently known as Age Concern Winchester, is looking forward to an exciting future in our new location and as the local delivery arm of a new nationwide charity. The expansion of the portfolio of services we currently provide to the elderly of Winchester will be greatly facilitated by being physically nearer to our colleagues at Winchester City Council with the new offices providing better facilities and easier access for all. Please come to see us!"

Matt Dore, Support Manager from Prospects said, “We are very happy to be able to move with Winchester Area Community Action and Age UK to the new Colebrook Centre in Winchester. The benefit of working alongside other voluntary groups is that you can share valuable ideas and sometimes resources to provide better services for people who need them.”

Whilst exploring options this project a new occupier has been found for almost all of 68 St George’s St on a non-secure lease for a minimum of 2 years from 1 June 2011. This will bring in much-needed income and mean that ideas for the longer term future of the building can be explored while market conditions improve.

The new occupiers do not need all of the building and so CAB Winchester will remain in this building on new terms, and giving them time to consider how their needs can best be met in the medium term.