THE Duchess of Northumberland visited Wearside to officially open a new training centre.
Connect in Moor Terrace, Hendon, provides training to those who have been out of learning or employment for some time.
The training on offer ranges from car maintenance to cookery and first aid.
There is also a cafe open to the public, where food is cooked and served by people on courses at Connect.
The Duchess, Lady Jane Percy, unveiled a plaque to complete the opening ceremony before congratulating 30 learners and presenting them with a qualification certificate.
She said: “Everyone has problems at some stage in life and it’s about how the community deals with these.
“In times of economic hardship, it’s great to see facilities like this open.”
The Duchess has been a patron of the North East Council on Addictions (NECA), the charity which funds Connect, for seven years.
Norman Richardson, NECA’s chairman said he was proud of the new facility and called the Duchess a “great supporter”.
Connect is the third NECA building which the Duchess has opened and she said she is “always impressed” with the work they do.
“I’m amazed at the amount of awards given out,” she said.
Addressing NECA and the staff of Connect she added: “It’s a wonderful service you provide to the community.”
Connect Centre manager Ashley Maw said the ceremony was about celebrating the achievements of the learners. She said: “Today is about recognising the ones who have achieved so far.”
The Connect centre was completed last February, but the official ceremony took place on this week.