Cannock Chase Council and Rugeley Community Centre have worked in partnership to bring support organisations together and create a hub that has helped the community in Rugeley and Brereton.
Andy Smith the Neighbourhood Officer for Cannock Chase Council for Rugeley has worked tirelessly over the last two years, with Chris Fielding Rugeley Community Centre Manager to make the centre, based on Burnthill Lane in Rugeley, a focal point for residents who needed support.
The centre allows the Council to use office space for meetings and one to one crisis chats, making it more convenient and easily accessible for tenants. Recently the centre has accommodated Victim Support Gateway to be present on a weekly basis.
Nirmal Samrai, Head of Housing and Partnerships at Cannock Chase Council said “I am extremely proud of what Andy has achieved in Rugeley. Already so many residents have received help from organisations working together, this will only grow and improve over time, as more residents get better access to services and feel supported when they need it most.
“I am pleased to say that there will be another community engagement event in April and we look forward to seeing our residents and partner organisations there.”
Chris Fielding Rugeley Community Church said “Rugeley Community Church have been working with Andy for over a year to provide vital help and support for people across the Rugeley area. Andy has been a regular presence in the Community Centre and alongside our Foodbank team, enabling us to work in partnership in a number of ways.
"Without Andy, so many more people would be in crisis right now. Andy is the link that was desperately needed in Rugeley to connect people in need with the people who can help. Working in partnership with Andy has allowed us to help more people, pooling our resources and contacts to make a difference to our town. For example, it was our pleasure to host the Council's drop-in event last November which brought together many key agencies and made them far more visible to the public. A direct result of that has been one of those key agencies planning to have a weekly presence in our Centre, which would really benefit Rugeley. We look forward to hosting another similar event on 22 April."
Richard Miller, Pastor Rugeley Community Church said “When Rugeley Community Church took over the running of Rugeley Community Centre in 2015, it was with a heart to see the Centre used as a community hub for the community we live in.
“Over the years the Church Leaders and Directors have planned and worked towards making Rugeley Community Centre a one-stop hub, where people could receive love, care, support, practical help and be sign-posted to other agencies.
“In working closely with Andy Smith from Cannock Chase Council we are now seeing the dream that Rugeley Community Church has become a reality as we partner together with Andy in being a Centre that serves the wellbeing of the people in our community. “
Rugeley Foodbank manager Dave Webb said, "It is a privilege to be working alongside Andy Smith. He oversees council properties in the Rugeley area and his pro-active approach ensures that tenants in need of assistance are identified and either helped directly by in house Council Services or signposted to other appropriate support agencies for help. Council tenants experiencing financial hardship and find themselves in a crisis situation, which may be for a variety of reasons, are directed to Rugeley Foodbank and support programmes are put in place by the Council. Andy also holds a regular fortnightly drop-in surgery at the Foodbank where he makes himself available for a friendly chat and offers advice where appropriate.”
There is another Community Engagement event on Friday 22 April from 11-3pm at Rugeley Community Centre, where residents will have direct access with representatives from; South Staffs College, Department for Work and Pensions, NHS (offering free liver tests, Cannock Chase Council’s Gas, Repairs and Rents Team, Rugeley Police, South Staffs Water, Staffordshire Fire Community Safety Team, Rugeley Foodbank, Springfield Residents Association, plus much more.
Everyone is welcome and no booking is required.