A Weardale village hall has improved facilities for local groups thanks to funding from one of the region’s largest housing associations.
St Thomas Church Hall in Stanhope can now offer new refreshment and baby changing facilities thanks to funding from County Durham Housing Group. The hall, which hosts a successful toddlers’ group and youth club, can now offer parents the chance to relax with a coffee while their children play thanks to the improvements.
The support has also allowed the hall to install baby changing facilities in the male toilets for the first time in response to a growing number of fathers attending sessions.
St Thomas Church Hall also hosts a variety of community meetings, a farmers’ market and provides the base for a community choir. All of the groups will have access to the new facilities.
County Durham Housing Group provided £392 for the improvements as part of its ‘group grant’ community funding programme.
County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “The hall is a focal point for the community and these improvements will help the venue provide the facilities it needs for local people.
“Projects like this are exactly why we created our group grant programme. The amount of money may seem small, but the improvements have had an instant impact for several groups in Stanhope.”
Julian Haynes from St Thomas Church Hall said: “The new baby change equipment has proved very popular with the Toddlers group and the new refreshment equipment has upped the standard of coffee offered to groups and events in an age where something beyond instant is expected.”
More than £50,000 has been allocated to community projects right across County Durham since group grant was launched in July 2017.
The scheme provides funds of up to £500 and is designed to help new groups take their first steps as well as supporting long standing organisations. The application process has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions are made monthly to ensure groups are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful.
Any community organisation, non-profit making group, charity or school working in east Durham is eligible for the scheme.