COLCHESTER Community Voluntary Services is to spend £140,000 extending its premises.

The organisation took over Winsley House, on East Hill, Colchester, from Colchester Council in 2004.

The investment will make the Grade II listed building, which dates back to the 16th century, more accessible for the disabled.

Tracy Rudling, chief executive, said: “We are the umbrella organisation for more than 220 groups and we have grown so much.

“The building is not really fit for purpose. We want to bring it up to standard to provide disabled access and we also want to provide more training rooms.”

Colchester Community Voluntary Services provides a range of services, including support for charitable and voluntary groups, training for the voluntary sector, health and safety, first aid and food hygiene courses and advice on financial management.

The work, which is due to begin in the next fewweeks, will see the ground floor extended to provide toilets and kitchen facilities which can be used by disabled people.

An information technology and meeting room will also feature in the scheme.

Mrs Rudling said it was hoped the work will be completed in six months.

She said: “We are the voice for 220 groups across the Colchester borough. WinsleyHouse is listed so we have to make sure everything we do is in keeping.

“We have got all the permissions in place and are looking forward to the new improvements.”