Putting pride back into Pegswood Welfare

A SHABBY village centre is looking to recapture its former glory with a blast from its mining past.

Pegswood Welfare Centre still serves as a thriving community facility, offering a broad range of sport, leisure and music activities.

But the building is in urgent need of a facelift, with its Front Street entrance too dangerous to use and surrounding land out of bounds.

Now, however, its management trustees have come up with a new idea to freshen up the facility with plans for a 48,000 colliery-themed garden.

Centre administrator Helen Chambers said: "We are still at the very early stage and we haven't submitted grant or planning applications yet. At the moment we haven't got the money or the planning permission, but we have got an aspiration.

"The front of the building is quite derelict, but there is quite a large area and we thought it would be nice to be able to use it.

"We would like a garden area where people can sit out and we could do teas and coffees. It could also fit in with our book exchange.

"The total cost would be 48,000 because the whole area needs to be redone and the ground work needs sorting and everything, but it would be great if we could do it."

The garden would look to the village's mining heritage for inspiration, with plans to install artwork of pick axes and pit tools in the fencing and seating frames.

Instead of traditional troughs, flowers would be planted in coal trucks, and a mini colliery wheel would take pride of place.

"Pegswood was a pit village so the whole thing will be done on a colliery theme," said Mrs Chambers.

"At the moment, when people drive through the village our building is a very depressing sight, but we were the miners' welfare. The idea is to bring the whole village together and restore the great pride in our mining reputation. That is the aspiration.

"If we get planning permission, which is the next stage, then we can go on and apply for grants to do the work."

A local builder has drawn up the garden plans free of charge to help the group get started, but it will have to rely on donations, grants and fundraising if the project is to get off the ground.

The centre currently offers a variety of activities, including luncheon clubs, friendship groups, an extend class, dominos, bingo, snooker, kick-boxing classes, tea dances, belly dancing, line dancing and carpet bowls.

It also acts as a base for Ellington Colliery Band and provides a monthly session for Morpeth Disabled Club.

For further information about its plans or activities, telephone 01670 512823.