Smart new look for Stobswood Miners’ Welfare

August 1, 2017 | Community News

Jeannie Kielty of The Banks Group with Kevin Batson, a trustee at Stobswood Miners' Welfare Recreation Centre.

A busy Northumberland community sports centre is ready to welcome both old and new members after undergoing a “total transformation”

A leaking roof at Stobswood Miners’ Welfare Recreation Centre had led to water damage to its walls, ceiling and carpets, while years of use had gradually taken its toll on the tables and chairs within the 54 year-old building.  After renewing the roof with the help of CISWO to prevent any further deterioration to the internal fixtures and fitting, the Centre’s committee started a fundraising campaign to bring in the money required to bring the building’s interior up to the required standard and buy new lighting, carpets, tables and chairs

And after securing a £9,500 Northumberland Community Chest grant, a £5,000 donation from regional employer The Banks Group’s Community Fund, £3,000 from CISWO and a further £2,000 donation from Northumberland County Councillor Scott Dickinson’s Druridge Bay ward fund, the work has now gone ahead.  Committee members Kevin Batson, Charles Wiggett and Kevin Jordan have carried out a considerable proportion of the work themselves, along with painter and decorator Ian Watson.   Lead contractor Craig Batson with local electrician Dave Young did the rewiring and fitted a new energy saving lighting system, while Hadston-based plasterers Eric and Gareth Patterson replastered the walls and ceiling

An official opening event is now being planned to enable the Centre to show off its new decor, which the committee hopes will help to attract more people in to use its facilities.

Stobswood Miners’ Welfare Recreation Centre was established in 1963 for the benefit of people living in and around the parish of Widdrington Station and Stobswood.

It provides a home for a number of community sports teams, including the local darts, pool, dominoes, football and cricket clubs, and is also regularly used for local children’s parties and other events.

Kevin Batson, trustee and fund finder at Stobswood Miners’ Welfare Recreation Centre, says: “Having finally got the roof repaired, addressing the damage that the water had caused was next on our list, but with our bar takings being the Welfare’s only regular source of income, we knew we would need to bring money in from outside if we were going to get them done quickly.

“Without the generous contributions we’ve had towards this project, it would have remained well out of our reach, and we would have had to carry out work on a piecemeal basis as and when we had the money, which would have been far from satisfactory for everyone.

“The improvements we’ve been able to make have totally transformed the place, and it’s been especially good to be able to call on the skills of several of our members who’ve contributed a huge amount to getting everything done so quickly.”

It’s the second time that The Banks Group has supported the Stobswood Miners’ Welfare Recreation Centre, with a £5,200 Banks Community Fund grant given last year covering the cost of a complete kitchen upgrade, which included new sinks, basins, worktops, ceramic hobs, a ventilation system, rewiring, redecoration, two new ovens, a new floor and new wall tiles.

Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “The Welfare is an invaluable community facility in an area where we’ve worked for well over three decades, and we’re very pleased to have supported further improvements to the building that will enhance what it can offer local people.”

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.

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