Centre work going well

John Barnett outside of St Marys Church Hall as it undergoes restoration.
John Barnett outside of St Marys Church Hall as it undergoes restoration.

A VILLAGE is just months away from having a new £500,000 community hub hailed as “another step in the regeneration of Horden and East Durham”.

Work on the revamp of the 100-year-old St Mary’s Hall, to be known as Horden Centennial Centre, is well under way and should be complete by September 23.

Bishop Auckland-based contractors Vest Construction started work on the structure around seven weeks ago.

Centre chairman John Barnett said the scheme is a huge boost for the village and it is progressing well.

He has also appealed for people to become volunteers.

Mr Barnett said: “They are making good progress.

“This is half-a-million-pounds being invested in Horden, which is good news.

“We have involved the community in the project and the final outcome will result in a chance for people to better themselves.”

He added that in addition to the £469,779 Big Lottery Reaching Communities grant allocated for the project, more funding – including £10,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation – has been received for fixtures and fittings as well as IT equipment.

The £469,779 boost is in addition to £32,620 awarded by the Big Lottery to appoint building professionals.

Mr Barnett revealed there are even plans to get a celebrity to open the new building, which will include new rooms, heating, lighting, signage, modern equipment and structural repairs which will see the building given a long-term future as a “centre for regeneration” in one of Horden’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

New training rooms, a fitness suite, internet cafe, and a resource hub will be created to offer residents activities and services all under one roof.

The new facility will be available to the wider community and local people have suggested what they want to see in the building, including access to housing services, police contact, employability support and healthy living activities. Mr Barnett said: “We are very interested in having people volunteer, right across the board with clerical experience, IT, and day-to-day building management.”

To get involved email: johnbarnett580@msn.com. To find out more, visit www.hordencentennialcentre.blogspot.com