Community centre gets £49,000 for refurbishment

Amy Nichols, of Newcastle Building Society; Linda Hoffman and Stuart Hill, of Springfield Community Association; Kathryn McLaughlin, of Newcastle Building Society; Su Legg, from The Community Foundation; and Julia Jenner, of Newcastle Building Society.
Amy Nichols, of Newcastle Building Society; Linda Hoffman and Stuart Hill, of Springfield Community Association; Kathryn McLaughlin, of Newcastle Building Society; Su Legg, from The Community Foundation; and Julia Jenner, of Newcastle Building Society.

A busy community centre is set for transformation after winning almost £50,000 of funding.

Springfield Community Association in Forest Hall has become the first beneficiary of Newcastle Building Society’s new Building Improvement Grant initiative.

A £49,110 grant from the society’s Community Fund at the Community Foundation will enable the association to completely refurbish its 40-year-old community centre.

The first phase of work, which is to be carried out by a team of local contractors, will see the installation of an accessible toilet and new baby change facilities, and a refit of the gents’ toilet facilities.

The main entrance will be moved, with the current lobby space being converted into a more user-friendly space that can be used for different activities, and a new kitchen will also be added.

The project is scheduled to be completed next summer, with work being carried out progressively during school holiday periods to minimise any disruption to users.

The association is hoping to open a new community cafe and to offer users at nearby Percy Hedley Foundation the chance to gain new skills and work experience there.

Springfield Community Centre, run by 20 volunteers, provides a home for a wide range of local events and activities, from zumba sessions, tae-kwon-do and yoga through to dog training classes, parent and toddler groups and private family functions.

Linda Hoffman, secretary, said: “The centre is much loved and very well used every single day, but it’s been increasingly showing its age in the last few years and the need to make major improvements was becoming ever more obvious.

“We talked to our users about the sorts of improvements they wanted to see made and have tried to tailor the improvements that we’re going to make to provide what they wanted to see.

“Creating a new cafe space that everyone can access will make a massive difference, while involving the Percy Hedley Foundation will give its service users new opportunities to develop skills and self-confidence.

“The funding that we’ve won means we can make this project happen years quicker than would otherwise have been possible, and that we can programme all the work in one go.

“We’re extremely grateful for the society’s generous support and excited to see how the centre transforms over the coming months.”

Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, said: “Supporting our communities is core to what we do, and our Building Improvement Grants scheme recognises that strong communities need appropriate and practical community buildings at their heart.”

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and provides an ongoing source of financial support for charities and community groups that the society’s customers nominate for making an important difference to the region

Applications for the next phase of grants can be made in any society branch or via the newcastle.co.uk website by customers who wish to support their local communities.