Warmer winter for Bishop Auckland community centre users thanks to Banks Group grant

February 4, 2015 | Community News

A County Durham community centre is set fair to face the worst of the winter weather after a four-figure grant from a regional employer paid for repairs and improvements to the building.

Auckland Youth & Community Centre is a voluntary organisation delivering a range of services to children, young people and their families on the Woodhouse Close Estate in Bishop Auckland.

The Centre, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, is open six days a week, and offers everything from out of school and after school clubs, youth clubs and sports training to health and wellbeing advice, adults’ fitness classes and employability support.

It is predominantly self-funded, and needed to find capital to pay for a number of repairs to the building, the most urgent of which involved fixing its leaking roof.

Having applied for and received a £5,000 grant from The Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund, the Centre’s management team is in the process of appointing local contractors to undertake the repairs, which will include works to the roof, drainage and front entrance.

Centre users have already commented on how much more welcoming the building feels as a result of the improvements made so far, and its management team is hoping that these works will help encourage more local people to use the facilities on offer at the Centre.

John Wiseman, business development manager at Auckland Youth & Community Centre, says: “Our Centre is used by hundreds of local people every week, and as we have to source most of our running costs ourselves, finding further capital for projects like this can be a real challenge.

“The funding we received from the Banks Community Fund gave us a ring-fenced amount for the building work that we knew we needed to get done – a lot of people have told us how much more they’re enjoying being in the building, and we hope that the additional work funded by this grant will encourage even more local residents to make the most of everything we offer.

“Auckland Youth & Community Centre believes that, by using local contractors to carry out this type of work, we are supporting the community in creating jobs and ensuring that the money we receive is being re-invested in the community.

“Banks is well known in our area as a generous supporter of community organisations like ours, and we’re very grateful for the help they’ve given to us.”

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, says: “The Centre is a fantastic community asset that makes a huge difference to the lives of many local people, and we’re very pleased to be able to support the invaluable work that it does in this way.

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of both operational and proposed Banks Group projects, with funding decisions made independently of the planning and project development process.  Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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