I AM writing as manager of the Huntingdonshire Volunteer Centre, one of the organisations that will be affected by the dramatic 84 per cent cut in funding proposed by the draft Huntingdonshire District Council budget.

We have been very grateful that HDC has supported us so generously in the past, but also feel that we have given them very good value for money.

For the relatively small amount of £35,000 the people of Huntingdonshire have received an excellent service, enabling a diverse range of people to access volunteering roles they didn’t realise existed.

Last year, we placed volunteers in 182 different organisations. These wonderful people have given freely a staggering 3,758 hours every month to support the community (particularly the vulnerable). We help people in Huntingdonshire to engage in their communities and, as a result, the communities are stronger, healthier and happier.

Smaller organisations find it particularly difficult to find volunteers, and we are able to help them promote their roles.

We support all volunteer-using organisations in developing good practice in volunteer management.

We also manage a volunteer car-scheme from our offices, which enables isolated or elderly people to access a wide variety of services, including medical appointments, shops hairdressers etc. Although this is run almost entirely by a wonderful band of volunteers, it could not exist without the infrastructure of the Volunteer Centre.

Huntingdonshire District Councillors need to realise the full implications of their cuts. If the Volunteer Centre is forced to close down, the community will lose the equivalent of 100 full-time workers every year, working quietly and compassionately to improve the quality of life for so many.

PENNY SHAW

Manager, Volunteer Centre

High Street

Huntingdon