Wick Information Centre celebrates 20th birthday

Wick Information Centre manager Julie Roby with volunteers celebrating its 20th birthday Picture: Steve Robards SR1726571
Wick Information Centre manager Julie Roby with volunteers celebrating its 20th birthday Picture: Steve Robards SR1726571

A valuable community service for Wick is celebrating its 20th birthday.

Wick Information Centre was launched in 1997 to provide a service signposting people to advice and support, helping to bring the community together.

Manager Julie Roby has been involved since 2009, when she joined as a volunteer, and now has three hats, bringing together Wick Hall, Wick Traders Association and Wick Information Centre.

Julie said: “We try to do things for the community. People are able to come in here or call us for information.

“It is mainly the older people who come in here, people who haven’t got the equipment to look for things themselves. We are not experts, we signpost people to places they can get help.

“A lot of our volunteers have been here for many years because they love being part of a team. We have people of all different ages and from all different walks of life.”

The centre, in Wick Street, was set up as a joint venture by All Saints’ Church and Wick Action Group, and was originally funded through regeneration money and church funds.

Julie explained: “The Rev Stephen Hudson was one of the people who set it up. It was his idea to bring the hall and the information centre together and to bring more people in to use the hall and work together for the community. We offer a wide range of services to Wick. It was quite limited back at the start, with only four or five volunteers from the church. Gradually, the Portakabin building fell apart, literally.

“In 2009, Geoff Philpott took over as co-ordinator. He raised £5,000 from the community. The idea was 50 lots of £100 from different community groups, so it was the whole community getting together to support us and raise the money. We also had £500 from Sussex Police.

“He was very good at fund-raising and managed to put a new building together. I was in the background because I was very shy but then he became ill, so I took over. It has gone from strength to strength, with many more volunteers.”

Services include computer training for the over-50s, poster design, typing, printing and laminating. There are leaflets about places to visit, history books and an internet cafe, plus the centre collects stamps for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and bottle tops for Mencap.

Julie said: “The village all works together. We put on lots of events. Wick Information Centre organises them and Wick Village Traders support us.”

The information is having a birthday party today for 120 people, with cake and entertainment.