Centre now being run by new team

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A NEW management team has taken charge of the Linskill Centre in North Shields and is looking to build on its growing popularity.

The Linskill Development Trust took over the running of the centre from North Tyneside Council in 2004 to save it from the threat of closure.

Despite part of the centre being demolished for a new residential scheme, more than 50 groups now use it, catering for 80,000 people.

Simeon Ripley, the trust’s chief executive, said: “We’ve had investment in the building to make sure it’s wind and watertight.

“My post as chief executive is to try to develop a strategy and trying to make it financially sustainable for the next three years, such as trying to get capital investment.

“We got a five-year grant from the Big Lottery Fund to establish the building, but that finishes next November.

“We’ve been tasked to make the centre as enterprising as possible by attracting new community groups.

“I’ve also come in to build connections with the council.”

The trust is currently improving access for disabled visitors, as well as reviewing the centre’s opening hours with a view to potentially operating on Sundays too.

Mr Ripley is joined on the Linskill Terrace centre’s management team by John Mitchell as operations manager, and Michelle Gascoigne as creche and reception manager.

A new website for the centre is due to go live soon, and it is also on social networking site Facebook.

“With the numbers we’re getting coming through the doors now, it’s a really well-used centre and serves all of North Tyneside,” said Mr Ripley.

“Anybody interesting in using our facilities just needs to get in touch.”