Community centre visitors sitting pretty thanks to Banks Group grant

October 19, 2010 | Brenkley News

Users of a new community centre in north east Newcastle are sitting pretty after a four-figure grant from a local company paid for a range of new outside facilities

The £5,000 grant given to the Brunswick Village Community Association by the Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund, along with Sure Start Children’s Centre, funding has paid for new outdoor furniture to be installed at the Brunswick Park Centre, including a special wing-backed ‘wishing chair’.

And it has also contributed to the cost of a number of new outside play facilities for children, including a sandpit, a large xylophone and a painting/craft area.

The new centre opened earlier this year and is the result of a partnership between the Brunswick Village Community Association, the Sure Start children’s centres and Newcastle City Council. Its official opening marked the achievement of a long-term ambition of people in the villages of Brunswick, Dinnington and Hazelrigg to provide local facilities which could be used by all members of the local community.

The centre is already well used by a range of different community groups, including an over 50s group, a book club and a young people’s club, and there is also a great deal of interest from several other organisations about making use of the facilities on offer. The centre is also the base for Sure Start Northern Villages Children Centre who offer a range of services for the under 5s and their families.

Two artists have spent time at the centre, and aspects of their work are now on display, including three wall mounted panels depicting different aspects of local history and a number of mosaic ‘roundels’ featuring designs created by local people which are inlaid into the outside area.

Eric MacKinlay of the Brunswick Village Community Association says: “The new centre is already making a positive difference right across our local communities, and we’re only just beginning to realise the potential of what is a wonderful facility. “The support that we’ve had from Banks has added a new dimension to the centre’s facilities, and it’s been especially enjoyable for people to be able to spend time outside in comfort during the warm summer months.”

Cllr Anita Lower, deputy leader of Newcastle City Council, who has been closely involved with the Brunswick Park Centre, adds: “Banks’ involvement with this important project has been invaluable, and I’m delighted with everything that has been achieved.”

The Banks Group has operated several surface mines in the area around Brunswick and Dinnington since the 1980s, and currently operates the Shotton and Brenkley Lane sites on the Blagdon Estate near Seaton Burn.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, says: “The determination and drive of local people has led directly to the creation and opening of the Brunswick Park Centre, and we’re very pleased to be able to support their commitment to providing the facilities their community needs to thrive.”

Projects, community groups, or organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact Clare Johnson at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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