The heat is on at a busy County Durham community centre after work was completed on installing brand new kitchen facilities.
Belmont Community Association has been working towards improving the catering facilities at the centre that it runs on Sunderland Road in Gilesgate Moor, in order to make it more accessible to all centre users and to encourage more local people to hold their events and activities on site.
And after applying to Durham-headquartered property and energy firm the Banks Group for support, a £23,170 grant has been provided from the Banks Community Fund to allow the project to go ahead.
Local firm Dragonville Interiors won the contract to carry out the refurbishment work, which has involved installing new windows, electrics, plumbing, flooring, cabinets, worktops and sinks.
Two free standing fridges, a chest freezer, two electric cookers and a ceramic hob have also been purchased, and the Association committee is hoping that the refit will help to generate additional income from new users, which will then be put back into further improving what’s available to local people.
Belmont Community Centre already hosts around 25 different activities, ranging from tea dances, craft fairs and a table tennis club through to martial arts sessions, a chat & craft group and the Cheesy Waffles and Wider World special needs groups.
Erika Denholm, who runs Cheesy Waffles and Wider World, says: “As part of their transitional development and independence skills, our young adults prepare their own healthy snacks and meals with staff in the kitchen.
“The groups take part in different projects including healthy living, and put on a community cafe every month, where local people come along to enjoy the food on offer.
“The well-being of our group members is being greatly improved with the new kitchen facilities, which give them a more professional place to work in and the opportunity to operate in a safe environment.”
Mick Bennett of Belmont Community Association adds: “We are very grateful to the Banks Group for making this latest part of our ongoing community centre upgrade possible, and we’re certain that all our users old and new will make great use of what’s now on offer.”
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, says: “Belmont Community Centre plays a central role in local community life, and it’s great for us to be able to support such a worthwhile project that’s right on our own doorstep.”
To make a booking at Belmont Community Centre, call Sue Smith, on 0191 386 6659 or visit www.belmontcommunityassociation.org.uk
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 to check if their group or project is eligible.