Newton Aycliffe community centre showcases £100,000 makeover

The Advertiser Series: Instructors and pupils during a computer literacy class Instructors and pupils during a computer literacy class

A COMMUNITY centre showcased the results of a £100,000 revamp at an action-packed open day.

Taekwondo demonstrations, arts and crafts and a chance to view the modern computer suite were just some of the activities on offer at Woodham Community Centre, near Newton Aycliffe yesterday (Saturday, September 28).

The centre organised the event to celebrate the completion of a major refurbishment project that has seen the entire building transformed over a period of six years.

As well as fitting a sprung dance floor in the main hall, new toilets have been installed, the kitchen replaced, the heating system upgraded, foyer redecorated and solar panels have been attached to the roof.

The meeting room was also modernised and new IT equipment and overhead projectors were bought for the computer suite.

Woodham Village Community Association (WVCA), which manages the centre, raised £43,000 for the improvements, with Durham County Council and Great Aycliffe and Middridge Area Action Partnership covering the remaining costs.

David Sutton-Lloyd, treasurer of WVCA, said he hoped the transformation would encourage more people to use the centre.

“At the moment, 340 people use the centre each week and some people come more than once,” he explained. “Hopefully this will increase when people see the improvements we have made and the facilities we have on offer.

“For the last six weeks, since we finished the foyer, we have had so many positive comments and we have taken some long term bookings, which is fantastic.”

WCVA has introduced a range of new courses over the last few years and Mr Sutton-Lloyd is particularly proud of the Computers for the Terrified class, which has helped dozens of older people get to grips with IT and the internet.

Family tree sessions, coffee mornings, digital photography, arts and crafts and first aid, are just some of the other activities on offer.

Kathleen Bailey, 66, has taken advantage of several courses and attends a small but productive art group that meets at the community centre each week.

She said the improvements had made a big difference, adding: “It is fantastic, especially the new floor and the way they have decorated the foyer.

“The community centre brings people together but it can be difficult to attract new people sometimes. Hopefully, this open day will encourage more people to come along.”

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