'To see it grow has been very special': Telford charity now helping more than 7,000 people a year

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Health | Published:

Thousands reach out to it for a helping hand every year.

Debbie Gibbon, from Telford and Wrekin CVS, and Paul O'Brien, from Denso, and supporters at the community cafe in Madeley

Helping people into work, supporting unpaid carers and those with autism or special education needs are just a few ways that charity Telford and Wrekin Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) has marked its path in the community.

Based at The Glebe Centre in Wellington, it has been running for more than 20 years.

Chief executive Debbie Gibbon, who has been with the charity for 15 years, says it has had to adapt to cater for the changing needs of people in the area.

"To see it grow has been very special," she said.

Debbie Gibbon, chief executive of Telford and Wrekin CVS

"It's very different to when I started. The needs of people in Telford have changed.

"We have a growing age population, with people living longer, and there has been an increase in demand.

"We like to support people to remain well closer to home so they are not needing to go into hospital.


"Our family carers are important to us as they are caring for someone to help them remain well at home."

The charity runs peer support groups and respite activities for family carers, including a youth club on Wednesday evenings for younger carers who can meet people in a similar situation as themselves.

Volunteers Jane Roberts and Toiny Harris, pictured with Matthew James at the Telford Autism Hub

An autism hub also meets at The Glebe Centre on Fridays to support people over the age of 16 who are living with autism, and the group often arranges social events.


Last October, the charity launched the Wellbeing Independence Partnership in association with Age UK and charity Taking Part, which provides advice to people with adult social care needs.

Some of its projects focus on getting people into work, such as the Building Better Opportunities programme, which it delivers alongside other organisations.

The programme focusses on disadvantaged people aged over 19 who are furthest from the labour market.

They are given opportunities to volunteer where they can gain confidence and learn new skills.

"We meet with the person first to understand what they would like to do," Mrs Gibbon said.

SEND IASS service manager Julie Collins, left, and service manager for the Telford Autism Hub, Wendy Longfield, at The Glebe Centre in Wellington

"We can support them with confidence building skills, training and job searching.

"We can then seek out volunteer placements appropriate to that person's needs."

Last year, the charity launched a community cafe in Madeley, which as well as providing volunteering opportunities also provides warm meals at no or little cost for those who need one.

The charity, supported by dozens of volunteers, now helps more than 7,000 people each year and delivers projects on behalf of Telford & Wrekin Council and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group.

Mrs Gibbon said: "The Glebe Centre is a community hub, it is a safe place for people walking by to call in and get advice and support.

"We are very proud of the work we do. Our values are around kindness, professionalism and making sure people get the right support at the right time."

The Wellbeing Independence Partnership team at Telford and Wrekin Council for Voluntary Service. Pictured from left, Linda Boddison, Jan Evans, Julie Arnold and Isam Shaheen

Nicola Bierton, of Wellington, started using the charity's autism hub around three years ago and now volunteers her time to help others.

The 46-year-old said: "I got to meet new people, we'd go on outings and have game nights.

"I help at the Glebe Centre now and at the cafe in Madeley.

"It's helped me and it gets me out of the house and meeting friendly people."

For help or more information on the charity call 01952 916030, email or visit

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.


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