Community centre has new outlook

Greatham Community Centre has re-opened sporting new windows thanks to securing Landfill Community Fund monies from Impetus Environmental Trust of Haverton Hill Road.
Greatham Community Centre has re-opened sporting new windows thanks to securing Landfill Community Fund monies from Impetus Environmental Trust of Haverton Hill Road.

A community building has a brand new outlook as it re-opened following renovation work.

Greatham Community Centre is sporting smart new windows thanks to funding from the Impetus Environmental Trust, of Haverton Hill Road.

A total of £38,711 was allocated for repairs to the village facility.

A spokesperson for Greatham Community Association Limited, which runs and maintains the centre, said it was grateful to Impetus Environmental Trust for the support.

The funding means all the windows were made good in one go and earlier than expected.

The scheme saw 17 windows replaced and one repaired, which is the only surviving window from the construction of the building in 1878.

The release of the funding required a 10% contribution from a third party, which came from the parish council following residents and users’ generous support for the centre’s window appeal.

Many of the groups using the hall held fundraising events and there was an outstanding response to an appeal which went through the doors in the parish.

The new windows reflect the Victorian character of the former school, which sits on the village green at the heart of Greatham Conservation Area.

The windows are the second stage in the restoration of the building undertaken. In the first the roof and heating were replaced, thanks to the support of another Landfill Fund operated by Veolia.

The centre closed for one week immediately after the Village Feast last week, with the condition of some windows suggesting the works came just in time.

The association trustees are already looking at the next job in the restoration of the building.

The oak floor of the main hall urgently needs repair and restoration which it is expected to be done next month.

Then the toilets need a complete refurbishment and reorganised layout which will include improved access for the less able bodied and a baby change facility. Quotes are already being sourced for this work.

The association took over the lease of Greatham Community Centre in 2013, following Hartlepool Borough Council’s decision not to renew.

Association chairman Dorothy Clark said: “We knew we had a huge task ahead of us to bring the building back from the brink.

“It was a heavy responsibility to take on but we felt the support of the whole community was behind us and people have proven to be marvellous.

“The building is just so important and in such an ideal location right on the village green.”

The centre is well used and provides a home to many of the organisations and activities in what is a small but vibrant community.

The reach of the centre extends beyond the village and welcomes people from neighbouring areas building bridges and relationships.

Regular groups include a youth club, flower arranging, carpet bowls, mature movers, sequence dancing, mother and toddler, line dancing and dance exercise.

The centre is also a polling station and used for all kinds of meetings including the parish council.

Other organisations that use the facility include Greatham Village Players, Greatham in Bloom, Greatham Feast, Greatham Sports Field Association and Greatham Residents Association.

Fundraising activities that keep so much in the village alive are regularly held within its walls. Exhibitions, music and theatre offer entertainment and private parties occur throughout the year.

The building is now dry and comfortable, a centre which the community deserves and can be proud of. Hopefully new groups can be attracted to an increasingly attractive venue.

The work was carried out by ERW Joinery Ltd, based in Middlesbrough.