The EpiCentre in Haverhill is proud to be supporting initiatives to help local charities and the wider business network.
Andrew Bell, Centre Manager at The EpiCentre says: “One of The EpiCentre’s core messages is that when a business sets up at the EpiCentre it becomes part of a community and we mean that in the broadest terms. We are not just an office building, we have lots of resources here to share, supporting both the local community and the wider business network.”
The EpiCentre’s support includes local charity REACH, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Withersfield Parish Council in whose parish the centre lies:
The EpiCentre has recently set up a donation point for local charity REACH providing food and essential non-food items for local people who are struggling in the current economic climate. Henry Wilson of REACH says: “The EpiCentre has contacted us with a genuine interest in supporting our cause, and in turn is also helping the people in Haverhill who need our guidance and aid. We’re also taking advantage of the generous offer of meeting space for REACH, it’s a great facility and a real treat for our hard-working team to be looked after. It is so encouraging to be approached by local community-minded businesses like The EpiCentre wanting to play their part to make a difference, and we really appreciate their continued support,” adds Wilson.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is supported by The EpiCentre with charitable donations to help finance the bureau’s initiatives. It has contributed significantly to the cost of a balloon flight for winners of a local raffle and will be selling raffle tickets through The EpiCentre. And it recently sponsored a virtual horse race night at the local golf club, as well as providing the welcome drinks, the proceeds of which raised funds for the bureau. Tony Howard of the Citizens Advice Bureau, says: “We welcome the Epicentre’s support.”
The citizens advice office in Haverhill has provided services to almost a thousand clients during the past year and represents a rise of around 20% during the past six months.
Every day the organisation provides advice to its clients on almost every issue, but much of its work is focused on issues with housing, debt, benefits and family relationships, which have risen by over 50% during the past six months. During the current crisis, there has been a significant rise in enquiries about energy and debt in particular. Time is spent helping clients navigate their way through first time applications for benefits to support their families.
Over half of Citizen’s Advice’s clients are affected by long term health issues and disability. Specific initiatives around helping clients with mental health issues, MS sufferers and clients with Long Covid are in place and provide support. “I never realised until I met Tony that the Citizens Advice Bureau was a charity organisation, supporting this wonderful organisation and its direct impact locally was an easy decision to make,” says Bell.
Since the EpiCentre has opened, the local community in Withersfield Parish has benefited greatly, with the parish council being able to hold its meetings at the centre. This has allowed a greater range of the community to participate, especially during the winter months when the village hall is harder to heat and has limited external lighting. The EpiCentre has also played host for meetings on local issues regarding property developments and offers the ideal facilities to hold these types of meeting. A range of small business owners who are based in the locality also use the EpiCentre on a frequent basis for ad-hoc meetings, which has really been a benefit for local entrepreneurs and small business owners. “It’s always easy for the community to be able to book meetings as the staff are always really helpful and friendly,” says Indy Wijenayaka of the parish council. “The EpiCentre has truly become part of the local area of Withersfield and Haverhill.”
Bell, says: “It provides a mutual benefit all round. We can promote the building to a wider range of people showing what we are able to offer which creates greater awareness and space sales and at the same time gives something back to the local community.”
The centre’s activities are in addition to the networking breakfasts and business events that it opens up to the wider business community. The next breakfast networking meeting is on the 17 May, see the website for more details.