VOLUNTEERS at a Sunderland community centre are celebrating after being handed a funding boost.
St Luke’s Neighbourhood Trust, in Merle Terrace, Pallion, has been awarded £9,450 to refurbish its kitchen and £9,000 to set up a cafe for the homeless.
The charity, set up in 2001, provides activities and support services for the community and has more than 100 members.
The Linden Family Fund-Vaux Fund awarded a grant for the kitchen work, while the Henry Smith Charity supported the cafe. Both applications were backed by the Community Foundation Newcastle group.
Tina Carlisle, community engagement worker at the centre, said: “We provide facilities and services that can be used by members of the local community, which consist of young and older people.
“Some have disabilities and are living in poverty in a highly deprived area.
“They are vulnerable, isolated and on low incomes.”
Tina said that without the backing of funding groups and donors, as well as income from renting out rooms at the centre, they would not be able to survive.
“We provide two main halls for a wide range of activities,” said Tina.
“We survive by charging a small fee for the use of our halls and from donations and grants, which are all put back into the community through the much-needed services we provide.
“All our upkeep, utilities and maintenance costs for the building are also paid through the small rental costs on the halls we receive.
“We provide a safe environment for all members of the community to meet and create friendships, while educating and improving the lives of residents.”
The not-for-profit organisation is run by members of the community and managed by a 14-strong management committee. “We would like to encourage any new community groups to come forward and use our premises, with a promotional offer,” said Tina. Our small hall has recently received funding.
“With the help of two work-experience children on placement from Hylton Redhouse Academy, we worked together with volunteers to refurbish and decorate it.
“We want as many people as possible to use the hall, but we need to get the message out that we’re here.
“People sometimes get us confused with St Luke’s Church, which is attached to us, but around the corner on Maxwell Street.
“Anyone who want more information should get in touch.”
Anyone who wishes to volunteer at the centre, or is interested in using its facilities, can call 0758 402 6782.