COMMUNITY Voluntary Services Tendring (CVST) is marking its 50th anniversary with plans for a year of celebrations.

CVST began in Clacton in February 1973 under the name Clacton Council of Social Services.

Its ethos was to bring all voluntary services and support together in way that meant people needing help were not forgotten and services weren’t duplicated.

In the first decade, the organisation launched the Tendring Talking Times, a Leukaemia Care Support group, and Clacton Volunteer Bureau and Family Support.

In the years that followed it started many other groups and services that are still in existence today, though running successfully as independent charities.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Project - The Kennedy Way Community Garden. Picture: CVSTProject - The Kennedy Way Community Garden. Picture: CVST (Image: CVST)

Two name changes later, and from employing its first paid member of staff in 1990, CVST has grown substantially, now benefiting from 48 members of staff and boasting more than 200 active volunteers.

It runs more than 50 different groups, classes and sessions every week, supporting hundreds of Tendring residents, as well as offering support, advice and funding to voluntary and community organisations across the district.

Brenda Ellis, chairman of CVST, said: “I’m always amazed at the reach of CVST’s services.

“50 years ago, the organisation began as a steering group, but just look at how that has grown.

“Now, in 2023, CVST runs groups in Clacton, Harwich, Walton, Jaywick, and Manningtree.

“So many other great voluntary organisations in Tendring have either begun through CVST or been supported by the wealth of knowledge and expertise the staff here provide.

“And long may that continue.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Service - the launch of CVS Tendring's Dial-a-Ride serviceService - the launch of CVS Tendring's Dial-a-Ride service (Image: CVS Tendring)

“I’m so proud to be part of this incredible organisation and witness daily how it helps to change and improve the lives of people in Tendring.”

CVST works across Tendring, from its headquarters at Imperial House in Clacton and it’s Hub in High Street, Dovercourt.

It offers rooms to hire, providing a space for events and meetings, as well as beach huts in Clacton and Dovercourt for community organisations.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, CVST is planning a series of events throughout the year, starting with a party for beneficiaries and friends in March.

Ideas are also in the pipeline for tree planting, a history exhibition, and events for Volunteers Week and Black History Month.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Chairman - Brenda EllisChairman - Brenda Ellis (Image: CVST)

Sharon Alexander, CVST’s chief officer, said: “We can’t wait to start celebrating our 50th year with events for our volunteers, beneficiaries, partners, funders, and the community.

“CVST has had an incredible first 50 years, being part of projects that help so many people in Tendring in so many ways.

“For example, we started the Tendring Talking Times, Tendring Community Transport, developed the Tendring Furniture Scheme, Tendring Parentline, and Tendring Carers Support, plus many more.

“In the past few years, particularly throughout Covid, we were reminded of the power of the voluntary sector and CVST, with its outstanding volunteers, shone.

“After 50 years we are still growing and expanding our services, continuing to tackle the issues facing our community and being part of innovative projects such as our Kennedy Way Community Garden.

“We look forward to carrying on that work.”

To find out more about CVST and the services on offer, go to