Community champion Jan French sums up past year’s work that includes helping Oasis Centre in Wisbech to expand

Cllr Jan French, who has delivered her annual community champion report.. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

Cllr Jan French, who has delivered her annual community champion report.. Picture: HARRY RUTTER - Credit: HARRY RUTTER

Fenland ‘community champion’ Jan French has spoken of her work over the past year in the role created by the county council two years ago.

Cllr French is one of five councillors given an extra £5,000 responsibility pay to take on the job and she's reported on her past year's work to the communities and partnership committee.

Cllr French took on the role after the first holder of the role, Cllr Steve Tierney, stepped down.

"This year has been very busy meeting with various groups to assist in the possibility of setting up a 'man's shed' in possibly two towns and one parish," she said.

"Finding suitable buildings is and has been challenging but they are still looking," she said.

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But it is her work helping the expansion of the Oasis Community Centre at Wisbech that could reap considerable benefit.

"Waterlees is one of the most deprived areas in Fenland and I have attended many meetings at the Oasis Centre and have met their trustees who have great plans to extend the centre," she said.

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Last month she visited the centre with Cllr Josh Schumann, chair of the county council commercial and investments committee, "with the view to allow this extension to progress".

Cllr French says the centre provides a vital link for the people in that area and many use the centre daily. To the rear of the centre there is a children's centre run by the county council "and it seems to be growing all the time and also a nursery.

"The trustees have been supported by Clarion Housing paid for their master plan for the way forward.

"I believe working with the Oasis trustees has given them the hope and opportunity to push forward many of their plans including a man's shed and Time Credit."

Cllr French said she was also in talks with some organisations that want to start up life skill courses such as cooking, cleaning, knitting. sewing to enable people to be more independent.

And she praised the golden age fairs, run by the district council, which continue to be successful with over 400 attending their last four sessions.

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