Anglian Water volunteer Chris Seymour helps with the painting

Nearly 100 Anglian Water staff gave up their time on yesterday to help transform a community centre in Wisbech.

The water company workers became painters, decorators and gardeners for the first of two days work on the Queen Mary Centre in Queens Road.  

Once finished, the centre will be able to hold many more community events and serve as an enterprise hub for the town, as well providing extra space for the nearby Ferry Project homelessness charity.  

Anglian Water got involved through its links with the charity Business in the Community (BiTC). One of its staff, Russell Beal, is seconded to the charity as a ‘Business Connector,’ finding ways for the business to support areas with social and economic challenges.   

Russell said: “I learned about the Ferry Project when I took on the Business Connector role in April and I heard about their vision for turning this big building into a community centre.  

“It’s right in the heart of Wisbech with a big hall, stage, kitchens, offices and classrooms. It’s had great potential so we came up with a plan to try and support it as much as we could.”  

Once complete the plan is for the building to host events aimed at boosting employment and enterprise in the town.

Russell said: “We are talking with the local councils, job centre and schools to get a job club running in the building. We are also planning a jobs fair next spring, which we and all our big contractors and suppliers will attend.”  

Everyone from directors to technicians got involved in the big DIY day, to the delight of the Ferry Project’s director Keith Smith. He said: “Ferry Project is very grateful to Anglian Water and their staff for their help with the gardens and decoration at the Queen Mary Centre. Anglian Water's motto is ‘love every drop’. We really love what they are doing here in Wisbech.”

One of the volunteers, Sarah D’arcy, said: “It was a great day. Lots of hard work but lots of fun. It was also really inspiring, seeing everyone pulling together like that and getting so much done for such a good cause.”