THE former home of a scandal-hit charity has been given a new lease of life after being taken over by new management.
The base of the now-defunct Manor Residents’ Association (MRA), at 44 Kilmarnock Road, in the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool, begins an exciting new era after being leased and run by a partnership of local organisations.
The consortium is led by the West View Project, the not-for-profit organisation which runs activities for young people from its Miers Avenue base.
The other partners are Belle Vue Community Sports & Youth Centre, West View Advice & Resource Centre, the Wharton Trust and Changing Futures North-East.
Reflecting the change in management, the centre is now called the Kilmarnock Road Children & Young People Family Resource Centre.
The partners are inviting local residents to an open day at the centre on Wednesday, November 19 from 1pm-3pm to find out more about the services which are already up and running and give their views on other activities they would like to see provided.
The centre provides activities and support for young people in Owton Manor aged five to 19 and runs a Junior Youth Club for five to 11-year-olds on weekdays from 4.30pm-6.30pm and a Senior Youth Club for ages 12 to 19 on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7pm-8.45pm.
It also has its own nursery, Little Stars Nursery, which caters for the under fives on weekdays from 7.30am-5.30pm.
Among other services already on offer are:
l A Family Coach from Familywise every Thursday from 10am to 1pm to help residents who want to gain new skills and find work;
l A West View Advice & Resource Centre adviser available four times a week to give general guidance as well as advice on welfare benefits, employment, housing and tackling debt, and a drop-in advice session on Tuesdays from 9am to noon.
The centre also plans to provide drop-in leisure facilities for local residents and has a community cafe open from 9am-1pm on weekdays.
From next January, it’s hoped it will also be able to provide a range of community learning courses, a jobs club and a computer skills workshop. West View Project chairman Dave Wise, speaking on behalf of all the partners, said: “We have an extensive track record and a lot of experience and are delighted to be working together to put the centre at the heart of the community, but we can’t do it alone.
“We need local residents to take a stake in the centre by coming along to our open day to find out more and talk to us about other services and activities they would like to see on offer.”
It comes after a controversial past for MRA which saw Cleveland Police’s Economic Crime Unit launch an investigation into complaints of financial irregularities.
The investigation followed a Hartlepool Borough Council audit review after concerns about administrative procedures surrounding payroll, payslips, end-of-year records and under and over payment of tax letters.
And MRA’s former boss Angie Wilcox is charged with 11 counts of fraud, conspiracy to steal and two counts of false accounting.
A former member of staff from the charity, a 57-year-old woman, also faces 11 fraud charges and one of conspiracy to steal.
A 27-year-old woman, who the Mail understands is Mrs Wilcox’s daughter, has been charged with conspiracy to steal and fraud.
For more information about the centre call (01429) 868008.