Change is in the air in Bishop’s Stortford

Bishop’s Stortford Child Contact Centre held its AGM in July 2022, in the course of which plans for future development were outlined. Bishops Stortford is a long-standing volunteer run charity. Volunteers play a crucial role in the organisation and their impact can never be underestimated in terms of the quality of service experienced by the local community.

Sarah Fahy, Chair and Lynne Ling, Co-ordinator have been working together to understand the needs of the local community and whether they might be able to address some of these as a charitable organisation. They have already set about creating a new look for the service, with a redesigned website and exciting new branding, as well as changing the name of the service. This rebrand is bright, energetic, and engaging portraying an organisation that is child-centered and has the needs of the community at its heart.

The organisation has been looking at different ideas in terms of how they might become more sustainable in the future.

Some of these ideas included:

• Accessing a diverse range of funding opportunities.

• Working on business plans and strategy documents.

• Considering enhanced accreditation to offer supervised contact.

• Having a paid professional co-ordinator in post.

• Considering what, if any role mediation could play, in the delivery of their services.

Whilst none of these ideas are set in stone at the moment, it shows a really exciting future for the centre and most importantly, for the families who rely on them.

Press release

New name for local charity working with children and parents – Bishop’s Stortford Child Contact Centre

The Bishop’s Stortford Child Contact Centre, known as the Portland Child Contact Centre until now, announced its new charity status along with its new name at its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 9 July.

The Centre has been in operation in the town centre for 22 years and registered with the Charity Commission in March under the new name Bishop’s Stortford Child Contact Centre, charity number 1198383. Two new trustees, Sally Gubb and Roger Mills, were welcomed to the team headed up by Sarah Fahy, Chair and Lynne Ling, Co-ordinator.

The Contact Centre offers children the opportunity to spend time with parents they don’t live with in an environment that is safe and friendly for them and their parents. The centre has plans to develop a wider range of services beyond Saturday morning contact sessions as currently offered.

A number of supporters including local councillors, Bishop’s Stortford Mayor Dave Anderson and representatives of local family law firms, were present and endorsed the work of the centre and committed to ongoing support.

Phil Coleman, Service Development Manager of the National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC), spoke of the work of such centres nationally and internationally, and how much they are valued by families needing to maintain contact between children and parents when families live apart. The centre is accredited by NACCC, which sets and validates standards.

Former volunteer Linda Greenwood, who has been involved with the work of the centre as a volunteer team leader and treasurer for 18 years, spoke about the rewards and challenges of the role, and was presented with a thank you gift of flowers.

Afternoon tea followed the formal business meeting, held in the Emmaus Centre, Church Lane, Thorley.

Contact details:

Lynne Ling, Co-ordinator 07766 627765

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