Beacon Hill Community Association cooking on gas thanks to Banks Group

March 8, 2011 | Brenkley News

Members of a Northumberland community group are ready to cook up a storm after securing funding for a new kitchen at their headquarters.

The community centre managed by the Beacon Hill Community Association in Cramlington now has two new ovens, as well as a new hob, sink, boiler, fixtures and fittings, thanks to a £7,500 grant given by local firm The Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund.

The grant has also paid for all the associated plumbing, electrical and decorating work, and the Association’s committee hopes that the upgraded facilities are going to help increase the numbers of local people utilising what is already a highly-valued venue.

Formed in 1975, the Beacon Hill Community Association manages the day-to-day operations of the Langdale Drive community centre.

It was originally based in a portakabin, but obtained funding for a proper building in the mid 1990s, which was then officially opened in 1997.

Today, it hosts a wide range of activities and organisations, from dance, yoga and karate classes to a scout group, senior citizens club and a playgroup, and is used by over 300 people a week.

Committee chairman Doreen Dugdale says: “Time had begun to take its toll on our original kitchen, and whilst we could still provide the basics like tea and coffee, we didn’t have the facilities needed to prepare the sorts of buffets and meals that we know many groups would like to offer.

“Installing the new kitchen facilities has made an immediate difference, and we’re expecting to see demand grow through the year as more and more organisations and individuals realise what we’re now able to offer.

“As a self-funding organisation, it would have taken us a very long time to raise the money we needed for this project – without Banks’ help, we simply wouldn’t have been able to make it happen, so everyone’s especially grateful for the invaluable funding they’ve provided.”

Banks Mining has operated several surface mines in south east Northumberland 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 adds: “The energy and enthusiasm of local community groups like the Beacon Hill Community Association play a vital role in maintaining the neighbourhood’s vibrancy and cohesion, and we hope that as many people as possible will make use of the new facilities at the community centre.”

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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