Facilities at a busy Northumberland community centre have finally moved into the 21st century after a four figure grant from a regional employer paid for a long overdue upgrade of its kitchen.
The existing kitchen at Stobswood Miners’ Welfare Recreation Centre was installed not long after the popular venue opened in the early 1970s, with regular use ever since at community events and by a range of local sports teams gradually taking its toll.
The Centre’s committee had been looking for ways to replace the kitchen with something more modern, but with takings from its bar only bringing in enough to cover its running costs.
But now, Banks Mining has stepped in with a £5,200 grant from its Banks Community Fund to cover the cost of a complete kitchen upgrade, with an army of volunteers coming forward to carry out the work.
New sinks, basins, worktops, ceramic hobs, a ventilation system and a pair of new ovens have all been installed, along with a completely new floor and tiles on the walls, and it has also been totally rewired and painted, all thanks to the skills of people living in the area.
Stobswood Miners’ Welfare Recreation Centre was established for the benefit of people living in and around the parish of Widdrington Station and Stobswood, and provides a home for a number of community sports teams, including the local darts, pool, dominoes, football and cricket clubs.
It’s also regularly used for local children’s parties and other events, and the Centre’s committee are hoping to now see more community groups choosing it for their functions and activities.
Kevin Batson, trustee at Stobswood Miners’ Welfare Recreation Centre, says: “The Centre has always been extremely well used, and the kitchen has gradually shown the signs of that popularity.
“We’ve also had a number of occasions where two or more groups have been wanting to use of the limited facilities on the same evening, which makes things difficult for everyone.
“Our only regular source of income is from the Centre’s bar, but that really only covers our running costs, and it probably would have taken us another three or four years to raise the money for this project if The Banks Group hadn’t kindly stepped in.
“We’re very lucky to have a lot of people in the area with the skills we needed to get this work done, and a tremendous community effort has resulted in new facilities of which we can be proud.
“The feedback we’ve had from our existing users on the new kitchen has been really positive – everyone’s really impressed with the upgrade, and we’re very hopeful that word of mouth will help us attract even more community groups and local residents here for their various activities.”
Jeannie Kielty, development relations coordinator at The Banks Group, adds: “Venues like Stobswood Miners’ Welfare Recreation Centre are at the heart of community life in areas like rural Northumberland, and the facilities they offer often aren’t available anywhere else nearby.
“The work that these admirable volunteers have done to complete the kitchen upgrade is amazing, and we hope local residents makes maximum use of the new amenities that the Centre now offers.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of both operational and proposed Banks Group projects. Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.