Stortford Children’s Contact Center plans to expand its services after new name and charity status mark a fresh start

A new name and new charity status were announced at a children’s contact center annual meeting on Saturday.

The Bishop’s Stortford Child Contact Centre, formerly known as Portland Child Contact Centre, has welcomed new Trustees Sally Gubb and Roger Mills to the team led by Chair Sarah Fahy and Coordinator Lynne Ling.

The centre, based at The Hub Church, Portland Road, has been in operation in the city center for 22 years and registered with the Charity Commission in March under its new name.

Sarah Fahey with former volunteer team leader Linda Greenwood. Photo: Richard Townsend (57885790).

Children have the opportunity to spend time with parents they do not live with in a safe and friendly environment for them and their parents.

The center plans to develop a wider range of services beyond Saturday morning contact sessions as currently offered.

A number of supporters, including local councillors, Bishop’s Stortford Mayor Dave Anderson and representatives from local family law firms, were in attendance and endorsed the work of the center and pledged to provide support continued.

Sarah Fahey, Chair of the Children's <a class=Contact Center, with Stortford Mayor Dave Anderson. Photo: Richard Townsend (57885785)” data-root=”/_media/img/” data-path=”9Q5UGZQ2W3XHDEK0FL63.jpg” data-ar=”1.78″/>
Sarah Fahey, Chair of the Children’s Contact Center, with Stortford Mayor Dave Anderson. Photo: Richard Townsend (57885785)

Phil Coleman, Service Development Manager for the National Association of Children’s Contact Centers (NACCC), spoke about the work of these centers nationally and internationally, and how much they are appreciated by families who have need to maintain contact between children and parents when families live apart. The center is accredited by the NACCC, which sets and validates standards.

Former volunteer Linda Greenwood, who has been involved in the work of the center as volunteer team leader and treasurer for 18 years, spoke about the rewards and challenges of the role, and received a thank you gift of flowers.

Afternoon tea followed the formal business meeting, held at the Emmaus Centre, Church Lane, Thorley.