September 9, 2016 | Community News
The management team at a popular County Durham village parish hall is cooking up plans to help local people learn more about healthy eating thanks to a four-figure grant from a regional employer.
Members of the Parochial Church Council for St Paul’s in Evenwood have been raising money over the last year to improve the facilities offered by their parish hall, which was purchased by members of the community many years ago for the use of the Church and the parish.
And after securing a £5,000 grant from The Banks Group via its Banks Community Fund, it has been able to commission the installation of a new kitchen, which was one of their project priorities.
The parish hall is already well used by local families, with a dedicated community worker organising a range of events and activities for them to participate in, and plans are now being put in place to hold more sessions on healthy eating in what is one of the most deprived areas of the North East.
St Paul’s PCC is also hoping the improvements which have been made to the building will encourage more people from across the area to use it for their own functions.
Alongside the new kitchen, the PCC has also raised enough money in the last year to add new lighting, point and repair the building’s brickwork, repair the toilet roof and improve the facilities in its disabled toilet.
The improvements have all been carried out by local companies, with a team of volunteers also pitching in wherever required, and a space behind the building has been cleared so that outside events can be held there in the future.
PCC fundraising coordinator Jean Bowman says: “The building is already very well used, but we believed that making improvements to it would enable us to attract even more people through the doors, and there’s been a concerted and successful effort over the last year to raise the money we needed to make this happen.
“Getting the new kitchen put in was a real priority for us, not only for what it allows in itself, but also for how it opens up the opportunity to introduce an educational programme on healthy eating to anyone interested in the community.
“The Banks Group’s generous contribution to our cause enabled us to tick this objective off the list, and to direct the money we’d raised ourselves to other parts of the project, which are combining to make the parish hall a far more attractive location.
“We’ve got more work still to do, and improving the entrance area is the next thing on our list, but we’re really pleased with the progress we’ve made so far and hope to attract many more local people into the building to see what uses they could make of it.”
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Funding for important community projects like this is still often difficult to find, which can mean that potentially very valuable initiatives such as these healthy eating workshops have to go by the wayside.
“We’re very pleased to have helped to get St Paul’s new kitchen in place, and hope many more people will now be using the parish hall for their events in the future.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects. Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.