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Community centre saved from closure after £16,500 donation from Asda

Jan Hall (far right) from Asda outside Washington Village Hall with (l to r) Natasha Rose, Michelle Russell and Kevin Blewitt from the Village Hall and Mark Fleetwood and Gary Bishop, also from Asda.

Jan Hall (far right) from Asda outside Washington Village Hall with (l to r) Natasha Rose, Michelle Russell and Kevin Blewitt from the Village Hall and Mark Fleetwood and Gary Bishop, also from Asda.

A DILAPIDATED community centre which had become too dangerous to stay open has been saved after a donation of £10,000 paid for roof repairs and a new heating system.

Washington Village Community Association was forced to stop its toddler groups and youth sessions after the ceiling at the village hall fell into disrepair.

And although some adult activities were able to continue, the building’s days were numbered with no money for repairs to the roof or to replace the faulty boiler which stopped working a year ago.

But after the association appealed for help, the Asda Foundation jumped at the chance to assist, and stumped up the cash needed to assure the Village Forge centre’s future.

The foundation has also handed £6,500 to a community centre in Springwell Village for much-needed improvements.

Washington Village Community Association spokesman Kevin Blewitt said the cash boost will help keep youngsters off the street. Kevin, who runs a kick-boxing class there, said: “It’s everything to us.

“There are not many community centres in Washington now, so it would have been a real shame for it to close and for us to lose something so important. We had already had to close it to the kids because it was becoming too dangerous.”

The repairs have meant the centre is now open for business again, with regular classes and groups up and running.

It will also enable them to hire out the hall for events like Christenings, children’s birthday parties and meetings, to bring in much-needed funds.

A spokeswoman for the Asda Foundation said: “This is a centre in the heart of the community and is used by a number of different groups including dance classes, fitness groups and mother and toddler groups.

“The centre has been around for many years and needed work to bring them up to date with health and safety regulations. This is what the Asda Foundation donation of £10,000 has paid for.”

Springwell Community Centre will use its £6,500 windfall to bring a slice of cafe culture to users.

About 500 people, young and old, used the centre’s services each and every week.

Suzanne Shafto, part-time co-ordinator at the centre, said: “It’s a massive boost for the centre and the volunteers.

“We got a grant last year to set up the room, but this donation from the Asda Foundation means we can run the place as near to a proper cafe as we can.

“We’ll be getting a coffee machine, a lockable fridge freezer and even frying pans.

“The money will give us a proper cafe which we’ve never had before and will also help with running costs.”

Rhoda Ellis, from Asda, said: “The community centre is amazing and I have met some brilliant user groups while being there.”

 

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