Centre saved by Lottery money

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THERE is no doubt in Kevin Cranney’s mind that without National Lottery funding, the Jutland Road Community Centre would have been demolished.

It is a year this month since the centre was saved from closure thanks to a £155,485 Lottery grant. Since then, around 500 people from the Seaton Grange area, bordered by the A689, Seaton Lane and Brenda Road, have benefitted from the range of clubs, activities, classes and courses offered, with some even finding jobs.

Kevin Cranney, a volunteer advisor with the Owton Fens Community Association (OFCA), which took over the centre, said: “The centre was going to be closed down as part of an asset transfer. We stopped the centre being closed down and grant enabled us to employ a couple of people to develop it as a community hub for the residents.”

Kevin said the reason for Hartlepool Borough Council’s proposal to close the centre was underuse. But OFCA stepped in to help empower local residents and Kevin, who is also a Hartlepool borough councillor, said residents in the Jutland Road area had been “overlooked for a lot of years and closing the centre would mean a big loss to the local community”.

Just last week, more than 50 families enjoyed Halloween celebrations at the centre, which provides lunch clubs for older residents, social activities, a daily after-school club, a one-stop shop for employment and enterprise advice, information and support, youth activities and a mother and toddler group.

There are plans for the Unison union to offer training courses at the centre, which is managed by Leslea Jackson, with Mark Ashman as development worker. Fitness classes and a community cafe could also be established.

Kevin said: “Without the funding, a community resource would have been lost and over 500 people would have lost out on provision and future opportunities.”

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