Sunderland community centre benefits from Olympic legacy

Viv Taylor, front, manager of the Chance community project in Hendon with members of the team helping out with their major refurbishment, left to right; Barry Horton from Alex Smiles, Peter Creese from ISG, Michael Coulson from Starkold and Katie Hindle Environmental Manager for ASDA.
Viv Taylor, front, manager of the Chance community project in Hendon with members of the team helping out with their major refurbishment, left to right; Barry Horton from Alex Smiles, Peter Creese from ISG, Michael Coulson from Starkold and Katie Hindle Environmental Manager for ASDA.
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THE Olympic legacy will live on in Wearside as a community centre waits to roll out the blue carpet.

Chance (Community Help and Neighbourly Care for Everyone), in Sunderland’s East End, is waiting for the delivery of carpets which had been specially laid at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, as part of the London 2012 Games.

The new flooring will arrive once the Paralympics have finished, and will mark the finishing touches of a radical refurbishment at the Wearside community centre.

Viv Taylor, Chance project co-ordinator, said: “It will bring the status of the community centre up, so we can hire the venue out for birthday parties and other events.”

The opportunity to get the Olympic carpet came after Pete Creese, environmental and sustainability manager at ISG Retail – neighbours of Chance – researched charities in Sunderland to see if they could offer any support.

He was made aware of Chance’s desperate plight for a refurbishment and offered to help out.

Using his construction contacts in the capital, he managed to salvage the carpet from workers, who were about to tear it up and throw it away,.

It is now set to be the centrepiece of the community centre’s makeover when it is delivered next month.

ISG workers, East Enders and sub-contractors, including Thompson Builders, have all helped out with the refurbishment – including building storage cupboards and painting a jungle mural in the centre’s creche.

“Without this help we just would not have been able to do all the work,” said Viv.

“And there’s no way it would have looked as high status as it looks. Now it is the complete package.”

Mr Creese said: “When we work in communities across the country we try to help out with a community project. This also helps our commitment to the Considerate Constructor Scheme.”

Waste management company Alex Smiles laid on skips for the clean-up operation free of charge.

Chance was set up in 1993 by a group of women in The Garths.

They converted two empty flats into an office and managed to raise £340,000 to build their own purpose-built centre, when it was announced the blocks were to be knocked down.

The new facility opened in 1999 and now hosts events including zumba sessions, cookery classes and activities for kids.

Twitter: @janethejourno