A North Tyneside community sports club is set to get brand new kitchen facilities in the new year thanks to support from the community fund operated by North East property, renewable energy and infrastructure business The Banks Group.

Forest Hall Young Peoples Club in East Palmersville hosts matches for more than 20 football teams from Forest Hall Football Club’s junior and senior sides, as well as the Forest Hall Dazzlers disability teams, and has also recently begun to host matches for nearby West Allotment Celtic FC.

As well as being used to prepare and sell refreshments on match days, the club’s kitchen facilities are also regularly used to help young players and other visitors develop life skills by showing them how to prepare and cook meals.

Having been installed more than a decade ago, the kitchen has started to show its age, and with ever-growing numbers of people using the club, it no longer provides the capacity to meet the demands being placed upon it right through the week.

But now, a £5,000 grant from the Banks Community Fund has enabled the club to commission local contractors Wayne McDine Joinery and All Weather Windows to build and install a purpose-built new kitchen and serving window, which it is hoping to have available early in the new year.

The kitchen has been designed to make it more accessible for people with disabilities and easier for community groups to use, with members of the clubs for older people that already base their activities at the club putting forward ideas for what else they might be able to do.

Alongside its footballing activities, Forest Hall Young Peoples Club is also home to a number of other sporting and community activities, including the Forest Hall Boxing Club, craft sessions, a games club and a number of private functions.

It’s the second time that it has received support from the Banks Community Fund, with a £4,000 grant given in 2017 enabling it to buy two new sets of seven and 11-a-side football goalposts that can be wheeled into places for training sessions and matches.

Samantha Corbett, pavilion supervisor at Forest Hall Young Peoples Club, says: “Our existing kitchen has served us well, but it’s become increasingly obvious that it needed to be upgraded, especially with more people being here on match days and lots of different groups wanting to access it for their various activities.

“As with any community club like ours, the last two years has put a lot of pressure on our finances, and we would have had to almost certainly just carried on making the best of what we’d got without the Banks Group’s generous support.

“Using the kitchen to help our young people develop basic skills that will serve them well through their whole lives is a really important part of our work with them and ensuring the new facilities are fully accessible for people with disabilities will enable us to make even more of an impact in this respect.

“The older ladies who are members of the craft group that we host are already talking about setting up a baking club in the new year, while the older gentlemen of our games club want to set up a brunch club too.

“Most of our groups are back fully up and running now, and we have others that want to use the club in the new year, so being able to offer them these excellent new facilities will be a real bonus for all of us.”

Chris Kelsey, communications manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Forest Hall Young Peoples Club epitomises everything that a grassroots sports club should be and has a positive impact on the local community that goes well beyond its football pitches.

“The plans they’ve developed will extend this impact even further and we’re very pleased to be supporting their ambitions once again.”

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects.

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