Funding boost for tea-dance group

Jean McGow, one of the founding members of the club, with Stephen Andrews, manager at Newcastle Building Society's Whitley Bay branch.
Jean McGow, one of the founding members of the club, with Stephen Andrews, manager at Newcastle Building Society's Whitley Bay branch.

Twinkle-toed members of a popular North Tyneside tea-dance group will be taking to the floor for at least another year after winning a four-figure grant from Newcastle Building Society.

The Whitley Bay Tea Dance Club attracts around 40 people from across the local area to its weekly sessions at the Masonic Hall on Norham Road, and offers both health benefits for the dancers and the chance for them to meet and make friends.

The group has been largely self-sustaining over the last 18 months after it lost the charity funding it had initially had.

A range of fund-raising activities are carried out to keep costs as low as possible and ensure there are no financial barriers stopping people attending.

Most members are aged from their 50s to 90s, but the club is open to anyone and beginners’ ballroom classes have recently started to give more residents the chance to learn new skills.

Now, after being put forward for a grant by Julia Ashley, a customer at Newcastle Building Society’s Whitley Bay branch and a member of the Tea Dance Club committee, a £1,760 donation has covered the cost of hiring the Masonic Hall for the next year.

And to mark the good news, a special celebration dance that’s open to everyone is set to be held at the larger St John’s Church Hall, in Whitley Bay, on Saturday, October 14. Call 07596 379368 for details.

The funding has been provided from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation.