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Community Collaborative gets grants

For information on the Early Learning and Family Resource Center, contact Peder Rude, Town Administrator, or Elly Majonen at 802-254-6857.

GUILFORD—The nonprofit Community Collaborative for Guilford recently got one step closer to building a community center in Algiers to house a pre-school, social service offices, and meeting and office space for local groups.

The town, in partnership with the Collaborative, was awarded a $30,000 Vermont Community Development Program Planning Grant in February.

This funding will allow the Collaborative, also known as CC4G, to “examine the physical and financial feasibility and sustainability of creating a social services center,” the Early Learning and Family Resource Center, “on a 0.7-acre parcel located at 24 Church Drive in Guilford,” according to a news release.

The organization’s mission is “To provide support for the creation and sustainability of a community center that will house and work with other nonprofit programs to help meet the physical, social, and emotional needs of families, children, and adults in our community."

CC4G is working with Guilford Cares and its Food Pantry, Guilford Community Church, and the town, to carry out that mission by creating the Center.

A number of residents — including the Guilford Community Church’s Vision Committee — had long expressed the need for a community center.

A big boost came from the Vermont Council of Rural Development’s workshops with Guilford in 2014.

The Council’s Community Visit team asked residents to identify the most pressing needs to make the town “a better and more dynamic place to live,” according to their Report and Action Plan (available at guilfordvt.net).

Residents identified three priorities. One was to “support the development of the church as a community and early education center."

This inspired the formation of CC4G, and their plans for the center.

The Collaborative proposed placing the community center on an undeveloped parcel of land owned by the Guilford Community Church.

“We like the idea of being in the area” around the church because its location — just off Route 5 — puts it in the path of many residents’ daily travels, CC4G member Elly Majonen told Selectboard members last year.

Many residents — and not just church members — already use their building for meetings and events, Majonen noted.

While there will be some crossover with the church, the Early Learning and Family Resource Center will be separate to keep it more community-based rather than religious.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #399 (Wednesday, March 15, 2017).

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