Group in need of new blood

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A COMMUNITY group is looking for some new blood to help the area thrive.

The three officials on the Earsdon and Wellfield Community Centre board have a combined aged of more than 240 years.

And they are now looking for younger volunteers to join the board to ensure the centre in Earsdon continues to operate.

Former building and trustee Dick Newlands, aged 87, has spent the last 30 years – since the community organisation was first set up – opening and closing the hall, processing bookings, and replacing the odd roof tile.

He has worked alongside chairman George Bewick, 84, and treasurer/secretary Marjorie Lockie, who is in her 70s, on the management committee.

Now, they have issued a plea for younger members of the community to join the committee so they can take over the reins in the future, preventing the centre from closing.

Last week, they organised a drop in session for local people to find out about what is needed.

Dick, who lives next door to the centre, said: “I have enjoyed what I do and wanted to do it, but we really do need some young blood to ensure this centre keeps going.

“As long as I am able I will be around in here, but we need new people to come in and join our management team and learn the ropes so that we know the community centre can keep going.”

The community centre is based in the former school building, which closed in 1955, being run by North Tyneside Council as a community centre until the community association was set up in 1983.

They wanted the centre to provide facilities for local residents and wider organisations, now running dance classes and drama, to keep fit, carpet bowls and children’s parties.

But the success has put pressure on the management committee.

Dick added: “None of us are getting any younger and we are down to just the three of us to do the management side and that’s challenging.

“We need some new blood.

“This doesn’t just help the local people – it’s a benefit for people from the wider area too as we have people coming from Seaton Delaval for the art classes.

“It’s important that Earsdon and Wellfield Community Centre keeps going.”

Mayor Linda Arkley has praised the management team for their work and is urging the local community to rally to support the centre to continue to thrive for the future.

“I know that across the borough there are so many people like Dick, George and Marjorie who put their local community first and keep these valuable community hubs going,” she said.

“Every volunteer does a sterling job and should be thanked for their hard work.”