• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

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Blyth’s Isabella Community Centre Warms Up For Winter Thanks To Four-Figure Boiler Grant

Users of a popular South East Northumberland community centre will be staying warm this winter thanks to a four-figure grant from North East renewable energy, property and minerals firm The Banks Group.

The Isabella Community Association runs the Isabella Community Centre on Ogle Drive in Blyth, which receives around 20,000 visitors every year to community activities and events that it hosts.

With the centre gradually returning to its pre-pandemic levels of occupancy and its day centre for local older people set to restart before Christmas, the Association had been looking at how it could replace the centre’s boiler system, which was installed when the venue first opened more than 20 years ago and was increasingly showing its age.

A £9,775 grant from the Banks Community Fund has now enabled the Community Association to have a new energy efficient boiler fitted at the community centre which will ensure that the heat stays on and that it can continue to welcome visitors right through the coldest parts of the year.

The Isabella Community Centre provides a venue for groups and activities that are accessed by people of every age, including the Little Kickers football club, youth club and family fitness bootcamps through to karate, lace making and crafting groups.

Maths and English tuition is also available, while a new sensory room is currently being built and plans for a new toddler group are also being finalised.

Lesley Jenkinson, Isabella Community Centre manager, says: “The pandemic hit us hard, both in terms of having to close our doors for long periods of time and the impact this had on our finances, but we’re gradually building back up to where we were before.

“The boiler has been a long-term concern and replacing it has gradually become more of an urgent priority as time has passed, but we’ve simply not had the money available to get the job done.

“People are always very generous with their time and money when it comes to fundraising, but having needed several months to raise the money we needed for a defibrillator, we knew it would take a lot longer to reach the much larger amount we knew we needed for the boiler.

“Getting this lump sum from the Banks Community Fund and being able to get the new system installed before the cold weather arrived is amazing.

“Banks’ generous donation has taken away a real worry about how we’d manage through the winter and it really couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Jamilah Hassan, community manager at The Banks Group, adds: “The Isabella Community Centre is at the heart of the local area and the dedication of all those that contribute to its success is really inspiring.

“We have a long track record of contributing to local improvement projects right across south east Northumberland and we’re very pleased to be supporting the work of yet another invaluable community organisation.”

Anyone from a community close to a Banks Group project who is interested in applying for funding from the Banks Community Fund should first contact the fund manager via fundmanager@bankscommunityfund.org.uk or on 0191 378 6342 before applying for a grant to check if their group or project is eligible.

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