Former church is set to be transformed with £50,000 grant

Town End Farm Community Centre is saying a big thank you to everyone who helped make its refurbishment possible.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 12:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 9:29 pm
St Bede's Church is now Town End Farm Community Centre, but still maintains its religious ties.

The church on Blackwood Road closed as St Bede’s Church in 2012, with worshippers moving to St Cuthbert in Red House and Holy Trinity in Southwick.

The building has always been used for community events. But the lease was formerly taken over in May by the Town End Farm Residents Association (TEFRA), and almost £50,000 of changes have now been carried out over a six-week period.

There is a new gym floor, doors, storage area, lighting and boiler. The altar has been removed, but the religious connection is maintained with a quiet room for prayer and contemplation in what used to be a side chapel.

Councillor Denny Wilson presents a cheque for £30,662 to Jean Bramham, secretary of Town End Farm Residents Association with (L-R) Councillor Stephen Foster, Councillor Ronny Davison, Councillor Doris McKnight, Angela Gibson, Rev Jen Bradshaw on the newly laid floor in the Town End Farm Community Centre.

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The building will be used for a variety of events, including toddler groups, cheerleading, kids’ clubs and dancing. The venue can also be hired for parties and other occasions.

The money for the project came from a variety of sources. These included a £30,662 Community Chest grant from Sunderland City Council’s Strategic Initiatives Budget, the Diocese of Durham, Gentoo and from the Town End Farm community themselves thorough TEFRA.

On Wednesday, October 23 at 6-8pm, the centre is holding a thank-you buffet for everyone who contributed, including councillors, contractors and residents.

Secretary of TEFRA, Jean Bramham, said: “It’s amazing what they’ve done. This will be great for the community.

Jean Bramham secretary of the Town End Farm Residents Association.

“I’d like to thank our councillors, Doris McKnight, Denny Wilson, Steve Foster and Ronny Davison, and Reverend Steve Elstob They’ve back us to the hilt. All the contractors have done everything when they said they would and more besides.

“The community has also given us great support and I thank them too. We lost one of our residents recently, Harriet Graham. She said that all donations at her funeral should go into the community centre.”

However, another member of the residents association says that much of the credit goes to Mrs Bramham herself.

Angela Gibson said: “If if wasn’t for Jean none of this would have happened. She did most of the work and made a lot of phone calls to get the funding.

“This is something she’s always wanted to do.”