Trevor Horn returning to Hetton today to open up new community hub

18 years of hard work and determination by a local community in the City of Sunderland is being celebrated on Wednesday 3 April with the official launch of a new community hub opening at the heart of the former Hetton mining village of Moorsley.

The 3Together Partnership, (funded by the Local Trust as part of the Big Local programme), working closely with the local communities of Moorsley, Peat Carr and Easington Lane have championed the fundraising and construction of a new building which will be officially opened by music producer Trevor Horn, a former Moorsley resident.

Built on the site on the site of the former Miners’ Welfare Hut which was opened in 1926 stands a brand-new, purpose-built community centre, a testament to the hard work and vision of a team of volunteers who have worked to give local people a place to call their own and to house a busy events and activity programme for people in the area.  The new building is a single-story structure built with full disabled access, a large hall with a retractable partition wall to allow different activities to be held at the same time, office space and a purpose-built kitchen. Solar panels have also been installed on the roof to keep energy costs down.

A Community hut has stood on the site for years, now the new hut provides a home for a range of clubs and activities which support local elderly residents, help combat social isolation and provide activities for kids and families including holiday clubs, bingo, a community choir and coffee mornings.  The hut has always been well-used by a range of local groups and is run by a dedicated team of volunteers and local residents, the Moorsley and District CIO, Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

After the original structure was demolished in 2003, the hut had to operate out of a portacabin, the purchase of which was funded by a Neighbourhood Challenge project in 2012 but which was soon outgrown and too small to house all the events and activities.  Marquees had to be erected on the grounds at many of the events to accommodate the number of people who attended.

Residents and volunteers were consulted about what they wanted and needed in the area and calls for a new community building were a top priority.  It has taken over 18 years to achieve this goal thanks to funding from two different National Lottery grants, the 3 Together Big Local Partnership designed for communities that have high level of social deprivation and The National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund with top up funding from charitable donations and other funders*.

Jackie Worthington, lead volunteer said:

“The opening of the community hut is the result of 18 years of fundraising and hard work by a committed team of dedicated and resilient local volunteers. Our group was first set up as a residents association and worked from two local public houses that have since closed. Over the years, the need for a community building has become more pressing to replace the one that was demolished in 2003.  There is nothing else in the area for people, there are no shops, or pubs, and there is only a bus that passes through to Durham. People need the hub, it is the heart of the community.

“The official opening next week, by Trevor Horn, someone who originally came from the area is a marvellous celebration of all our efforts and shows what a community in action can deliver.  We were determined to raise the money, it took us a long time but we did it.  Huge thanks to the two National Lottery grants because without them we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this and to all our funders and contractors, it has been a true team effort.”

As part of the launch celebrations, Mr Keith Lucas, the great-grandson of one of the original dignitaries who officiated at the opening of the first community building in 1926 will present a key from the original welfare hall.  This will form a commemorative plaque which will be installed in the new community hut to celebrate the heritage of the building.