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Community Hub event explores ways to boost access to services

Date issued: 14 September 2017

Improving access to services was the main focus of a briefing event hosted by Colchester Borough Council at the Library and Community Hub, on 13 September 2017.

Entitled 'REACH' (Realising Equality Access at the Community Hub), the event drew together an invited audience from more than 10 local community groups to explore ways of breaking down barriers and maximising access to services provided by the three key partners located at the Community Hub: Colchester Borough Council, Colchester Borough Homes and Essex County Council.

Pam Donnelly, Colchester Borough Council's Strategic Director of Customer & Relationships, welcomed representatives from East Anglian Indian Association, Victim Support, Community360, The Night Shelter, Essex Fire & Rescue Service, Fair Access Colchester and others, to the REACH event.

The Library and Community Hub is a busy and vibrant partnership space, offering a range of frontline and other services to residents of Colchester, which has gained a reputation for supportive and innovative customer service since it opened in December 2013.

Guests heard about the different ways individuals are able to access services, how effective partnership working maximises access, and the ways the Council is helping to overcome barriers to access and inclusion shaped by issues such as language, opening hours, how customers access services, and the way advice is delivered.

The event later rounded off with an interactive tour of the Library and Community Hub, aimed at showcasing the partnership work which is providing services to some of the most vulnerable residents using the community space.

Pam Donnelly, Strategic Director of Customer & Relationships, said: "This was an extremely useful event, and a fantastic opportunity to be open and transparent about the services on offer at The Library and Community Hub.

"Everyone who took part shares our interest and commitment to overcoming the barriers that can prevent our customers from accessing the services and support they deserve. By sharing our experiences, and guided by the feedback provided by everyone involved in the event, we will be better able to tailor the support and advice we offer to some of the most vulnerable customers using our services." 

Cllr Beverley Oxford, Portfolio Holder for Customers, added: "I am immensely proud of the collaborative work and vision that has made the ground-breaking Community Hub such an innovative and vibrant facility.

"Thanks to everyone who took part in the REACH event and for sharing our aspiration to remove the barriers that can prevent our customers from accessing services. By coming together in community events such as these, we continue to make the Library and Community Hub an even more welcoming and easy-to-use centre for all of Colchester's residents."