The Community Fund linked to the North East’s largest building society is supporting a Wooler-based community trust with a five-figure grant to repair its much-loved community building.

Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation has given a grant of £15,000 to The Glendale Gateway Trust, which owns and operates the Cheviot Centre community building at the heart of the rural town of Wooler. The grant will be used to repair the glazed atrium roof and re-carpet the Centre.

The Cheviot Centre, is a bustling hub of activity and has been vital in supporting its community since it opened in 2001. As it is home to a variety of services, from the local library to the police, the centre has an important role to play in serving the local people of Wooler and welcomes around 10 – 12,000 visitors per annum.

The Centre’s large glazed atrium entrance is a striking part of the building. It has serviced the organisation for almost 20 years but was in need of replacement due to ‘blown’ panels and leakage.

Newcastle Building Society has been working closely with the Glendale Gateway Trust and the local community of Wooler to establish a community branch of Newcastle Building Society within the Cheviot Centre by the end of the year.  The move will bring financial services provision back within walking distance of the majority of residents who have been without local financial provision for the more than 12 months.

The Glendale Gateway Trust is a community development trust set up in 1996, to support one of the most sparsely populated areas of the country. With a population of just 6,000 people, The Trust covers 250 miles of rural Northumberland.

Patrick Sheard, Chair of Glendale Gateway Trust said: “We first introduced the Cheviot Centre in 2001 following a community consultation which had shown there were too many fragmented community facilities in Wooler. So the idea was to try and create a community hub which would accommodate lots of different services and facilities in a sustainable way. Nineteen years on, it demonstrates it was the right idea!

“We’re delighted in the changes the grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund has enabled us to do. The new roof and carpet has reinvigorated the hub and we’re looking forward to welcoming Newcastle Building Society into the Cheviot Centre by the end of the year.”

Newcastle Building Society chief executive, Andrew Haigh, said: “The Cheviot Centre in Wooler is a bustling community hub and is the perfect example of community and people coming together to support their town. This grant of £15,000 has supported the Glendale Gateway Trust in repairing the glazed atrium roof and re-carpeting the centre. We were delighted that the Fund was able to help the Trust to maintain the centre and to help ensure the future of a community building which serves the people of Wooler so well.”

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, provides grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network.