New lease of life for village centre

A SPORTS and community centre built and paid for by people living in a north Northumberland village more than 30 years ago has been given a new lease of life.

The ageing Seahouses Sports and Community Centre was in dire need of refurbishment that would ensure it remained fit for purpose.

So for the past seven years Seahouses Development Trust, which took over the management of the building a decade ago, has been hard at work raising the £400,000 needed for the make-over.

Lottery funding as well as support from One North East, Defra and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, was obtained to enable the work to be carried out.

The trust’s project officer Graeme Cooper said: “It has been a long, hard road to get the funding in place but everyone agrees that the end product has been well worth the wait.”

With the nearest sports and leisure facilities at either Berwick or Alnwick, the centre has provided a large hall for indoor sports such as badminton and karate, along with bowling greens and tennis courts.

A new ground floor café has been added with kitchen facilities meaning the centre is suitable for a greater variety of uses including community events and functions.

The centre is powered by solar panels and has been extensively insulated to maximise energy conservation.

“It is also fully accessible by disabled users and there is ample car parking.

One other exciting innovation about to happen as a result of the refurbishment work is the arrival of big screen cinema showings in the centre.

Through the involvement of Northumberland’s Doorstep Pictures, which helps run film clubs in community venues, the trust will be trialling screenings in October to gauge support for regular film shows.

Graeme said: “Everyone who has visited the centre recently agrees that the work that has been done is excellent and that it is a superb venue that will be an invaluable asset for the local community in and around Seahouses for many years to come.”

The next phase will be to try to raise further funds to create space in the centre so that Seahouses library can be re-housed there.