End of an era for development agency legend

Peter Gowland is still passionate about helping the town.
Peter Gowland is still passionate about helping the town.

PETER Gowland, who has worked at HVDA, based in Victoria Road, Hartlepool, for 28 years, is leaving the organisation at the end of this month.

His role of project development officer is being made redundant due to funding from Hartlepool Borough Council drying up.

Peter says, coincidentally he feels like it is time for him to move on anyway, but he is still passionate about helping the town and firmly believes that the council should continue to offer its financial backing to HVDA.

He told the Mail: “HVDA is scaling back quite severely. The volunteer service we’ve provided for the last 28 years is all gone, it’s all finished.

“It’s so sad when there’s so much need.

“The town needs a development agency.

“You get all these groups who have ideas and they come and tell me how they want to do something good for the community to benefit the people in the community.

“They need to know things like, the role of a chair person, an organisational structure, where can they go for funding, how can they employ staff, where can they volunteer, how many hours can they volunteer. People need advice on many things like that, and so many members of the public benefit.

“That’s all going to stop and it’s such a shame.

“The volunteers won’t be there and the groups will suffer, and therefore the people they help will suffer.”

Peter started at the HVDA on November 3, 1986. He leaves on March 31.

He said he will be sad to leave: “For me personally, it’s been an excellent organisation to work for, I think if you talk to any staff member they would say that.

“The work is varied, and interesting and challenging. I get to meet all sorts of different people from all walks of life.”

When asked if he could pick out his most proud moment working for the organisation, the 64-year-old dad, whose son is studying politics at university, said: “The satisfaction you get when somebody comes in wanting to set up a group, on anything from a toddler group, arthritis group, or whatever, and then in one year or two years you’ve upskilled that person, you’ve got them some dosh, and then they are delivering that service.

“It’s even better when years later they are still going such as the likes of PINS, or the Bereavement Service, of the Hartlepool Chinese Association.

“It’s just great, or it was just great.”

Keith Bayley, manager at HVDA, said he would miss his colleague and friend greatly.

“Peter is a legend,” he said. “He has done so much for this town. He’s kind of become the face of the HVDA.

“Even if he wasn’t going we wouldn’t have had the money to replace him.”