Norfolk support group is back from the brink
An Aylsham-based volunteer organisation that helps the county's emergency services is looking forward to a bright future, one year after fears it would fold.
Last summer, Norfolk Civil Protection Volunteers (NCPV) heard North Norfolk and Broadland district councils were withdrawing a combined �20,000 of grant support that they had handed over for 20 years.
The group, which provides food, drink and shelter for emergency service personnel when they are involved in major incidents, looked unlikely to survive the blow.
But now NCPV has found a new base in Aylsham, with rent that is less than half the cost of its previous home.
And one of the volunteers, Mark Sayers, said the 18-strong team was 'feeling very upbeat about the future'.
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He said the group had recently provided support to the emergency services at a large Tamil pilgrimage to Walsingham.
He said: 'It was not looking good for us. But we've been able to find a smaller place in Aylsham. We've moved from a unit on the Dunkirk industrial estate to a base behind the old retained fire station on Holman Road.
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'That has enabled us to more than halve our rents, and we are now able to cover the costs of our equipment and fuel. We are all volunteers, so our prices are pretty competitive.'
He added: 'I am glad to say we are still able to offer our emergency support services to those who need us.
'We have put in place a number of economical strategies that will not reduce the level of services we can provide and that means the future of the group is now secure.'
Mr Sayers said the organisation provided emergency support at incidents and events all over Norfolk and even beyond the county borders.
He said: 'People are feeling a lot more positive. We are more upbeat than we've been for a number of years.
'It wasn't a surprise when the council money was withdrawn. We had seen it coming for a while. But this move has given us a new lease of life.'
NCPV continues to look for funding and for new volunteers. Anyone who can help should email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.norfolkcivilprotection.org.uk.