A unique young people’s club has won a five-figure grant for a range of new equipment.
The Basement Project was set up in the basement of St Bartholomew’s Church hall, in Station Road, Longbenton, in 2014 to provide a safe, welcoming place for young people.
Since then, it has developed to offer a wide range of after-school activities on four evenings a week and has forged strong links with the nearby Longbenton High School, with more than 100 young people on its books.
And after applying to the Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund, a £13,100 grant has been awarded.
The money has allowed them to buy 12 desktop computers, dining chairs, extendable tables, computer chairs, a dishwasher, outdoor bike stands and a smart TV.
Activities range from financial education sessions and Kids Can Cook nights through to sports, nail art and computer coding projects.
The vicar of St Bartholomew’s, Reverend Martin Lee, said: “The Basement has a vibrant energetic atmosphere.
“We know from the feedback we have received that dozens of young people get a huge amount out of attending the Basement Project.
“Having built so much momentum in such a short time, we were keen to keep things going by making our facilities even better.
“The equipment we’ve brought in would simply have been out of our reach without the Banks Group’s help. We hope it will help us make an even bigger difference to the lives of local young people.”
“The new computers, offer the latest up-to-date software.
“We insist on everyone sitting down together to eat during our sessions to help build relationships and having our new tables and chairs is making that much easier.”
Chris Kelsey, communications manager at the Banks Group, said: “The Basement Project is an inspirational initiative which has a position in the local community that no other organisation can fill.
“It has ambitions to help all the young people that use it to be the best they can be, and we hope the funding we’ve provided will enable the team to further extend their reach around the area.
“More power to Father Martin, and all at the Basement Project’s elbow!”