Formed in 1995, The Chesterton Community Forum was the vision of the late Reverend Vic Oxford; the aim of the Forum was to provide a voice for the community of Greater Chesterton – an area comprising Chesterton, Crackley, Holditch, Apedale and Red Street.
The Forum encouraged people to become active on behalf of their community and to help influence decision makers for the benefit of the area.
With the support of The Coalfields Regeneration Trust and of Aspire Housing, the first One Stop Shop opened on London Road, Chesterton in 2001 before moving to its current location in 2003. The Forum’s goal was to use the shop as a single point of focus where our community might find help with their problems and enquiries. If we can’t help someone ourselves, we will always try to put them in touch with somebody who can.
The shop is managed by its own committee, which is responsible for the smooth running of the shop and making sure that we meet the expectations of our funders and our customers. Our shop is staffed entirely by volunteers who give their time for the benefit of local residents.
We provide the community with information on a wide range of subjects, issues, and events, displaying leaflets on behalf of numerous non-commercial agencies and organisations. Should residents wish to speak to representatives from agencies in person, we provide a number of outreach services run directly through the shop. Currently these facilities are utilised by Aspire Housing and their Debt Counselling Service, Local Police, Family Employment Initiative, Citizens Advice Bureau and the Dove Counselling Service.
Some members of the shop management are representatives on a number of agency committees. This allows us to ensure that information is passed on to our local residents.
The success of the shop is a tribute to all those volunteers who have, over the years, worked hard to empower the residents of Chesterton by giving them access to information, help and support. We all have something to offer and new volunteers will find the shop provides an excellent opportunity to develop skills and self-confidence whilst helping to improve the lives of everyone who lives in our community.In 2011 The One Stop Shop celebrated its tenth anniversary and was presented with the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service. Mrs Lilian Barker, Chair of The Forum, was awarded the MBE for services to the local community.