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Key Milestone for Community Centre

A South Tyneside community association is celebrating a new lease of life with a new team at the helm.

Ocean Road Community Association is now being run by local charity, Ocean Road Centre, which took over the management of the facility from the Council and has now officially signed the lease on the building.

Councillor Fay Cunningham, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Co-operatives, said: "Our community centres play a pivotal role in our communities, providing the space for people to come together to socialise, learn new skills or just relax.

"Despite South Tyneside being unfairly affected by the government's programme of austerity, it is thanks to the commitment of our volunteers that we have managed to keep our community centres open. By considering new methods of delivery, we have been able to make these valued services sustainable for future generations."

The centre is used for a variety of activities such as arts and crafts, health and fitness sessions and youth work. The centre also has strong links with South Tyneside Council's day services hub which provides day activities for adults with learning disabilities as well as many other organisations such as the Council's Connexions service and Your Voice Counts.

Cllr Audrey McMillan, who is co-director of the Association, said: "I am delighted that we have been able to work in partnership with the Council to safeguard this well-used and much-loved community facility.

"We are already self-sufficient but are keen to access external funding so that we can offer even more for the local community. I would encourage anyone with ideas about other activities they would be interested in running to come and talk to us and help us develop the offer."

Four members of the charity managing the centre have significant experience as trustees for other charities or business boards and bring a wealth of knowledge from the business, health and finance sectors. They are enthusiastic and determined to see the centre flourish.

Co-director of the Association, Liz Stephenson, said: "Now that we are independent we will strive to do our best for all those who use the centre. I am confident that, with the support of the local community, we will have many prosperous years ahead of us."



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