Bob Walter MP opens new Shaftesbury Task Force Offices

At the invitation of Shaftesbury & District Task Force (SDTF) Chairman, Neil Sutherland, Bob presided over the formal opening of the community partnership’s new offices in the heart of Shaftesbury. Present were the Chairman, Shaftesbury’s Community Development Worker, Louise Plumridge, and Board Directors Rachel Caldwell and James Crouch.


Previously located on the Longmead and Wincombe Industrial Estates, it was felt that the SDTF offices needed to be more accessible to the local community, particularly for those travelling on foot. So when space became available at 1 Bimport – the current home of Toby’s and the HOPE Drop In – the Task Force team jumped at the chance to move into the town centre, where they feel the community partnership HQ belongs.


The SDFT was set up in 2001 as one of North Dorset’s four successful Community Partnerships. It has served as a focus for the delivery of the 2005 community plan for the Shaftesbury area, which is currently under review.


With Louise on hand to assist local residents and organisations with advice and support, the SDTF has already proved to be a powerful tool in helping to secure funding for local projects. It is established as a private company, limited by guarantee, and has been funded by Shaftesbury Town Council and North Dorset District Council.


After the opening Bob said:


“I was delighted to accept Neil’s invitation to formally open the Task Force’s new offices, which I understand have been up and running alongside the HOPE Drop In since the beginning of September.


“Community partnerships really do need to be accessible to the communities they serve, so I think that this is a really positive move for the Task Force team. They are now better placed to listen and respond to those who may previously have struggled to get to the Longmead office.”


“With the current passage of the Localism Bill through parliament, the role of Community Partnerships, such as SDTF and the Three Rivers Partnership in Gillingham, will become increasingly important in helping to represent the views, and shape the priorities, of local people with regard to the future of the area. So I would urge Shaftesbury residents to take advantage of this move and pop into the new office to find out more.”