‘Lifeline’ cash to revamp sports pitches

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A community centre taken on by its members has been handed a “lifeline” thanks to a £50,000 donation to revamp its sports pitches.

The running and funding of Parkside Community Centre in Seaham has been transferred over to a committee as part of a project to cut council costs.

This is going to be a lifeline for the centre, because there’s nobody else who has got the same facilities in the area.

Richie Cameron

Now the team behind it hope to generate the cash and visitors it needs to survive in the long-term with the renewal of its 3G pitches.

The cash has been allocated to the project by Durham County Councillors Kevin Shaw and Sonia Forster, with a further £20,000 still to be secured.

Richie Cameron, the vice chairman of Parkside and District Community Association, said: “This is going to be a lifeline for the centre, because there’s nobody else who has got the same facilities in the area.

“We’ve got changing rooms, showers, floodlighting and CCTV, but what we need is a new surface.

“The Football Association has said we have the wrong kind of surface, so we can’t let anyone under the age of 16 on it, because it’s hard rubber, rather than 3G.

“We’ve got more funding applications ongoing to try and get the rest of the money so the surface can be renewed, that’s with two or three funders, we’re just waiting for that to be confirmed.

“If it wasn’t for the two councillors, who also helped us with the asset transfer with support, advice and financial help, I don’t know what we would have done, the two of them have been great.”

Councillor Shaw, who alongside Coun Forster is also a Seaham Town Councillor, said: “The courts went up a few years ago but fell out of use because the surface wasn’t up to standard.

“We got together the funding to get a new surface and we know that’s going to secure the future of the centre and bring in people.

“It’s a fantastic feeling for us because it’s putting it back in use for the community.

“It has been a long process to get this funding together, it’s taken a lot of hard work, but it should put the centre on a good financial footing.”

The funding has been pledged through the councillors’ neighbourhood funding and the East Durham Area Action Partnership.

The centre also hosts fitness classes, youth workers and will this year host visitors from Seaham’s twin German town Gerlingen next month.

It is planning to launch a cycling group soon.

Anyone who would like to find out more can call the centre on (0191) 581 3908 or follow the association via Facebook.