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Community groups to benefit from fund
A COMMUNITY centre is planning to bid for a share of a controversial £500,000 made available by a council.
The money had been earmarked by the now-defunct Wear Valley District Council for the renovation of the Elite Hall, in Crook but, after that project was deemed too costly, the funds are now being released to community groups within a one-and-a-half mile radius of the town.
Durham County Council is asking for groups to express an interest, so long as they would want at least £50,000 and would use the money to fund building works or repairs.
As reported last week, some residents and councillors are annoyed that the money will be divided and said it would do more good to spend on one facility, such as the creation of a sports centre to make up for the closure of Glenholme Leisure Centre, last year.
But the team behind Howden- le-Wear Community Centre is now planning a bid for some of the money and said dividing it between various groups will benefit many people.
Gavin Jopling, chairman of the newly-formed community association in the village, said the money would fund vital repairs at the Victorian-built centre.
He said numerous groups, attracting different members of the community, use the centre, such as for history, a youth club, art, karate and dodgeball.
Mr Jopling said: “By improving the centre so that many more people want to use it, we can ensure its long-term survival.
“When the repair work is done we hope that people may want to hire it for other events which provides both a sense of community and stable future for the centre.”
Work would include the replacing of rotten wood, new toilets, new windows and installing a heating system.
County councillor for Crook south Eddie Murphy said the fund would be better used to create one new facility for Crook rather than dilute it to repair or patch up existing centres.
But Crook North county councillor John Bailey said: “This money can really benefit the people who use the centres as well as ensure more activities can take place to attract even more members of the community.”
Groups have until Friday, September 21, to express an interest in the fund.
Email threetownsaap@ durham.gov.uk or call 0300- 0267-538.