Bright future for village centre

Blackhall Community centre manager Alison Paterson as the start of the improvement work to the centre gets underway. Picture by FRANK REID
Blackhall Community centre manager Alison Paterson as the start of the improvement work to the centre gets underway. Picture by FRANK REID

IMPROVEMENTS to give the front of a community centre a more modern look are well underway.

Blackhall Community Centre is in the middle of a £24,000 revamp to its front entrance.

Work started four weeks ago and a completion date is scheduled for just over three weeks time.

Improvements include the digging up of old paving slabs and re-pointing of walls and the planting of trees, shrubs and flowers.

A new feature is four young cherry blossom trees.

Staff at the centre are waiting for new garden furniture, which includes outdoor seats and a table, to arrive.

There will also be new bike stands and noticeboards added.

Centre manager Alison Paterson said: “It will be great for summer when people want to rest and sit after their dinner or even have dinner outside.”

The changes are being made after residents and centre users took part in a consultation to have a say on the way they wanted to see the facility developed.

Mrs Paterson added: “It’s already bringing the centre up to date.

“Everything looks fab – it makes everything look new and bright.

“We had dark grey colours before, but now everything looks completely different.

“It looks fantastic so far and lots of people say it looks so lovely.”

The centre is doing its bit for the environment by re-using the paving slabs removed from the front of the centre.

The contractors working on the overhaul are Deerness Fencing, based in Bowburn, County Durham and funding has been provided by the Big Lottery’s Community Spaces scheme.

The Mail reported at the end of last year that the centre was having to find alternative sources of funding during the economic crisis.

But Mrs Paterson said funding fears had been offset by staff foregoing three of their weekly hours, the equivalent of one wage, and offering more functions.