Volunteers urged to fill staffing void

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A CENTRE for adults with learning difficulties, left short-staffed by a recruitment freeze, is pleading with professionally trained volunteers for support.

The Suffolk County Council run Sudbury Resource Centre, in Chilton Industrial Estate, which supports nearly a hundred adults, is down by four full-time members of staff and as a result is having to reduce the services it offers.

Helping Hands, the charity which supports the centre, is appealing for professionally trained care support workers to fill the four posts on a voluntary basis until the centre is in a position to recruit again.

Helping Hands chairman, Paul Fullbrook, said: “We are currently four full-time members of staff short and we desperately need to bridge the gap.

“The problem is the centre is not able to recruit at the moment due to the county council’s reorganisation of services so we need professionally trained people to help us out on a voluntary basis.”

The centre offers four work projects, recycling, horticulture, packaging and catering, which provide services to numerous organisations and business throughout the town. However, due to the staff shortages the services are having to be cut back.

Marion Corner, centre manager, said: “This staff shortage is a real problem for us.

“We are having to reduce the level of services we are offering, including the horticultural section, which is only operating two days a week at the moment.

“The situation is very sad as many businesses and organisations are not able to utilise our service to the usual level, which means the whole community is suffering.”

The future of the centre is one of many county council services being considered under the authorities divestment programme including parks and libraries.

“This is not about blaming the county council as it would not make sense to recruit more full-time staff when we do not at this stage know what the future holds,” added Mrs Corner. “However, the fact remains we are in a difficult position, to the extent we are having to call on volunteers to help us at this time.”

Anyone wanting more information can call centre manager Marion Corner on 01787 296088/90/91 or by email at Marion.Corner@suffolk.gov.uk. Alternatively, they can contact Helping Hands chairman Paul Fullbrook on 01206 262698 or charity secretary Anne Molyneux on 01206 262979.