More than 70 past and present volunteers and Trustees attended the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Syston and District Volunteer Centre at a special function in the Syston Community Centre on Friday 16th November. The event was attended by Deputy Lord Lieutenant David Wyrko.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Derek Burdon, welcomed and paid tribute to all who had played an active part in the development of the Centre from very humble beginnings in 1978. He spoke briefly of the challenges currently facing the Centre – especially the threat of significant reductions in government grant aid – but expressed the confident view that, with the support of a fully committed Board of Trustees (Josie Branston, Ann Carter, Trevor Carter , Pierre Castille, Colin Grimes, Fiona Henry, Paul Lomas and Christine Ringrose) and a motivated staff under the direction of Centre Manager Mark Smith, the organisation was in safe hands.He offered special thanks to the team of volunteer drivers without whose support the Centre could not possibly function.
A shortage of volunteer drivers continues to represent a major problem as the Centre seeks to meet increasing demand from service users. New volunteers would always be warmly welcomed, he stressed. He briefly outlined the background to two major initiatives under active consideration by the Board – the establishment of a Community Garden and an extension to the existing Centre premises.
Trustee Trevor Carter spoke of the many changes he had witnessed during his 16 years of service, both as a Trustee and a driver, and of the influence the Centre had exercised in the wider community through the establishment and fostering of other volunteer groups offering vital support services to the local communities.
In proposing a toast to the future of the Centre, Trustee Secretary Colin Grimes, said:“As we join together here tonight, to celebrate 40 successful years, I trust that on the basis of what you have heard, you will be reassured to learn that – far from being complacent, frozen or frightened by the prospect of serious cuts to funding and other difficult issues, the Centre which you have all played a part in setting up and developing over the past 40 years, is in safe hands, with exciting and dynamic plans for it’s future growth and development, allied to a firm commitment to maintain and expand our core support transport services to our local communities.I thank each of you for the part you have played in our success over the past 40 years, no matter how small, for which you can all be justifiably proud.”