A charity supporting vulnerable and troubled families has taken over a closure-threatened community facility.
Family Gateway has helped safeguard the future of Howdon Community Centre after moving in, and already has plans to make it into a hub for local people.
The facility will be known as the Family Gateway Hub @ Howdon and, as well as housing the headquarters of the charity, will offer a range of opportunities for the community, including a café, charity shop, exercise classes, a gym and an events space for hire.
The community centre, formerly run by North Tyneside Council, had been under threat of closure, but its future as a community resource has now been secured.
Extensive consultation is now being carried out by Family Gateway with local people to establish what they would like to see on offer at the hub.
Family Gateway is an award-winning charity which tackles deep-rooted issues within families.
It works across North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Northumberland to engage directly with families, many of whom fall through the gaps in support from traditional agencies, to help empower them to turn their lives around and find a route out of their situation.
Pauline Wonders, strategic director at Family Gateway, said: “As well as being a great base for our outreach work, which sees us directly engage with families across a huge geographical area, the fact we can help safeguard this as a resource for the local community in Howdon is a huge benefit.
“We couldn’t just stand by and watch this centre being closed down and left standing derelict – we believe passionately that this was built for the community and it should always be used for that purpose.
“This centre could play such a central role in the community and could offer so much, and we plan to make it just that.
“We want our Howdon Hub to be somewhere that offers things for local people so they will want to come here.
“We have already consulted widely with the community, although we’re keen to hear even more opinions so would urge people to get in touch.”
“It is also an important base for Family Gateway and our work throughout the region.
“Our work extends across the community, engaging directly with families to tackle their issues and help them bring about lasting changes that improve life chances for children.
“We cover a very sizeable geographical area, but this will enable us to have a focal point for all of our work.
“We are a very close team and are committed to working together to help our families, so having such a super new base will help us to drive forward our ambitions.”