Good year for community hub

Youngsters and adults at Pegswood Community Hub are celebrating after a strong period of growth, which includes a significant increase in numbers. Picture by Jane Coltman.
Youngsters and adults at Pegswood Community Hub are celebrating after a strong period of growth, which includes a significant increase in numbers. Picture by Jane Coltman.

A village facility for all ages is looking to the future with confidence after revealing positive financial results for the last 12 months.

And Pegswood Community Hub has received a further boost in recent weeks with the news that it has been awarded three significant grants.

This is in stark contrast to early 2014 when it was struggling. The trustees and directors decided that they could not afford a manager and they agreed to individually take responsibility for an aspect of life at the building on Longhirst Road.

Through a combination of sourcing money, its own fund-raising and an increase in numbers – from 7,778 in 2013/14 to 11,314 in the next 12 months – the hub has achieved a small surplus.

The rise includes more people going along to the Piplings and Sure Start group for parents/carers and toddlers, after school sessions for children, activities for adults such as creative writing and the embryonic Performing Arts Group.

And 2015/16 has got off to a good start as it has received a further £10,000 from Children in Need to pay salaries for its children’s workers, £4,021 from the Henry Smith Charity North East Grants Fund towards its Elderflowers (Over 50s) group and administrative costs and a £2,500 grant from Pegswood Parish Council to support the activities of the Performing Arts Group.

Pegswood Community Hub chairman Peter Stonell said: “We’re delighted with how things have progressed over the last 12 months.

“After bringing in more funding and seeing the weekly numbers of people increase incrementally throughout the year, we achieved a little more income than expenditure in 2014/15.

“We can go into the year ahead with more confidence and hopefully we can continue to make good progress.

“For example, charitable trusts will be more likely to give us extra funding because they can see that the money we’ve been given over the last few years is being used effectively.

“I’m very grateful to all the trusts and organisations that have given us a grant, my fellow directors who have, to a person, stood up the mark and delivered on what they promised, office administrator Jaime Shore, whose abilities, hard work and friendly disposition ‘oils the wheels’ of all that we do, and all our other volunteers.

“More than 42 per cent of our income is raised from and by users of the hub. Everyone contributes and we have a well-planned and organised series of fund-raising events throughout the year.”

The first session of a new group to bridge the transition from the after school group to the Monday evening young people’s club took place last week.

It will run each Wednesday from 6pm to 7pm and it is for children aged between ten and 13.

There will be arts and crafts sessions as well as computers and games nights and those running the group will try to organise activities suggested by the youngsters.

A plethora of groups and organisations use the hub, including three for quilting, and the pilates and watercolours groups are both going from strength-to-strength.

The Northumberland and Family History Society continues to meet monthly and it is now using the whole hall as its numbers have increased to around 60 for each meeting.

About 30 people attend a weekly Slimmer’s World session and the Northumberland Credit Union runs a paying-in point and advice facility at the hub on Friday afternoons.

In addition, an increasing number of organisations and individuals are hiring the building for conferences, birthday parties and funerals.