South Tyneside Community Centre
Joanna Tuck and Phil Dean.

South Tyneside community centre given new lease of life with £100k funding

A community centre in South Tyneside has been given a new lease of life by some fresh investment and professional legal advice.

The Bilton Hall Community Centre, managed by the Bilton Hall Community Trust, is now undergoing significant refurbishment after the centre’s management team successfully obtained £26k in funding from the ASDA Foundation, and £78k from Sports England.

The centre, on Taunton Avenue in Jarrow, recently reopened after being closed by South Tyneside Council in 2016.

A group led by community development manager Joanna Tuck campaigned and relaunched the centre to support hundreds of people in the local community.

As well as running various groups and activities, the centre has a space for social gatherings and provides an area for local schools to practice sports. Over 300 people a week use its services.

Tuck said of the relaunch: “This is a very exciting time for Bilton Hall as it looks forward to the future. We’ve secured extensive funding to create an even better space for the entire community to benefit from.

“The building work is set to be complete over the coming months which we are looking forward to.

“We are very grateful to our volunteers and to the businesses which support us. We received excellent advice from North East law firm, PG Legal, which allowed us to secure a lease on the building, setting us up for the future.”

Formerly known as Low Simonside Community Centre, the site was earmarked for closure by South Tyneside Council in 2016, but it was saved after being taken over by a volunteer group which formed BHCT. Originally built as a school for the Simonside Estate, it was converted to a community centre in the 1980s.

Phil Dean, director at PG Legal, added: “Bilton Hall is an outstanding organisation which is truly at the heart of the local community.

“We are proud to have advised on the acquisition of a Lease which in turn has allowed the centre to access a significant sum of funding. We will continue to support Joanna and the team to ensure this very important community centre keeps providing its services.”

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