In the 1970s local 'Rural Domestic Economist', Joy Robinson, started up a range of activities including a self-help Lunch Club in Sawtry which was based in a modular building known as the Homecraft Centre, half of which had been a domestic science classroom, on the edge of the secondary school campus. Around the same time a Social Worker, Ken Wilson, also began a Day Centre for the elderly which was based in the Adult Common Room at Sawtry Village Academy (then the Village College).
In 1982, both clubs came under threat as decisions were made to move the founders on. A number of local individuals decided to form a committee to save the activities and the 'Sawtry & District Care and Resource Organisation' (more commonly known as CARESCO) was born. In November 1983 this new organisation was registered with the Charity Commission as charity number 288202.
In 1986 CARESCO also took over the Manpower Services Print Shop, which occupied the other half of the old building, and thus the Homecraft Centre became our headquarters with office space for the charity's first Organiser, Marjorie Dybeck.
Our thanks to Maurice Dybeck for allowing us to share his film made in 1992 showing the range of activities under the CARESCO umbrella at the time.
The CARESCO Centre
Erected in 1966, the Homecraft Centre served us well until the 1990s by which time it had become very run down, badly vandalised and eventually almost uninhabitable.
In 2000 CARESCO was successful in getting a lottery grant from the Community Fund for just under £120,000 to pay for a replacement modular building. Purpose built, the new CARESCO Centre is on land leased from Sawtry Community College and adjoining the car park behind the Parish Council-owned Old School Hall on Green End Road. The site is about 100 yards from where the old Homecraft Centre stood.
The CARESCO Centre was opened in April 2001 and is used by many of the current activities, with the exception of the Sawtry Foodbank, the Charity Shop, the Community Support, Sawtry Car Scheme and the Cave. A garden was designed and planted by volunteers in 2005 for the enjoyment of our users, volunteers and staff.
In 2010 the decision was made by the trustees to change the legal status of CARESCO to that of an incorporated charity. This is a normal procedure for organisations of a similar size and a natural development building on all of the hard work in the past.
So, on 1st April 2011, CARESCO changed to become a charitable company, that is both a registered charity (number 1140728) and a registered company (number 7513432). Although the change made no difference to the services provided to the community, CARESCO now has more secure foundations to enable the organisation to move forward with confidence.
In June 2022, the Platinum Jubilee year, we were delighted to learn that CARESCO’s amazing volunteers had been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for local voluntary groups. Visit our dedicated QAVS page for details. You can find out more about the Award itself on the official website or by clicking on the QAVS emblem on the right.
Read the Book
For more information about the history of CARESCO and details of how the organisation was set up and run in the early years, a book entitled 'The Story of CARESCO' is available. This was published in 1998 and written by Marjorie Dybeck, who was instrumental in the creation of CARESCO and was also the first Organiser.
The book offers useful guidance to anyone interested in setting up a similar charity in their own area as well as a fascinating account of the charity's history. Foreword by the Rt Hon John Major, MP.
Please contact us if you would like to order a copy of The Story of CARESCO.
Page last updated: Thu 25 May 2023
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