Council of voluntary services closes after nearly 50 years

Steve Gazzard helps the Council of Voluntary Services with cheque presentations

Steve Gazzard helps the Council of Voluntary Services with cheque presentations - Credit: Malcolm Philbey

An organisation which coordinated 100 volunteers in Exmouth at its height has closed its doors. 

The coordinators behind Exmouth Council of Voluntary Service have made the decision to close after 49 years ‘with a heavy heart’. 

The group was initially set up as an umbrella organisation for a host of services and establishments in Exmouth. 

It grew to work with local health authorities, social services, doctors' surgeries, councils, rotary clubs and Exmouth Community College.  

Exmouth Council of Voluntary Services was also responsible for launching Exmouth Community Car Service, which will continue to operate having separated from the council of voluntary services in 2020.

Mary Philbey was coordinator for 24 years. She said: “We were involved with everybody; we did a lot with social services and I was the volunteer for the medical side. 

“It was a thriving and very good concern with many people involved. I set up the car service and it became an absolute animal. We had 24 drivers and at times was too much to cope with, but we did cope very well.” 

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Mrs Philbey said ultimately Covid-19 ‘finished them off’ but her and a few remaining volunteers have got a few people they still visit and help where possible. 

The council held a cream tea at Devoncourt Hotel, in Douglas Avenue, to say thank you to supporters and also presented fundraising cheques to good causes including Talking Newspapers, Macular Society, Stroke Survivors Club, Hospiscare, Seachange and Exmouth Museum. 

Mrs Phillbey told the Journal she is putting together a scrapbook of photos from her time with the Council of Voluntary Services which she will hand over to Exmouth Museum. 

A spokesman for the council added: “We feel very proud of the many things we have achieved and will always most sincerely THANK the wonderful volunteers we have had over the years.”