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ST. ALBANS COMMUNITY CENTRE RECEIVES FUNDING LIFELINE FROM ST. MODWEN ENVIRONMENTAL TRUST

A project to transform a Stoke-on-Trent Church into a purpose built community centre and café has received a £25,000 funding lifeline from the St. Modwen Environmental Trust.

The Trust, established by regeneration specialist St. Modwen to support the communities in which the company operates via the Landfill Communities Fund, has selected St. Albans Community Centre in Blurton as the recipient of its 2010 community grant, following an application by the Parish.

The Trust’s donation has enabled the project to meet its target of raising a staggering £653,000 to transform its existing dated building into a multifunctional community facility that will provide schemes, groups and activities to promote health, well-being and education within Blurton’s disadvantaged community. With help from the BIG Lottery Fund, Church Urban Fund, Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Cooperative Foundation, Parish of Blurton, Staffordshire Environmental Fund (under the Landfill Communities Fund supported by Biffa) and Stoke-on-Trent City Council, it is hoped that the new Centre will act as a catalyst for further development in line with the local area’s community cohesion agenda. By offering a truly intergenerational programme of activities, the new Centre will engage with all community members and target those individuals who have been traditionally hard to reach.

Speaking about the donation from St. Modwen Environmental Trust, Peter Teggin, chair of fundraising for St. Albans Community Centre commented:

“We are delighted to have received funding from the St. Modwen Environmental Trust which allows us to complete this major project for the benefit of the Stoke-on-Trent community. With a population of 10,000 Blurton is a thriving community but one which has felt the effects of the decline in the mining industry particularly through unemployment. We hope this new Centre will not only provide residents with a genuine community heart but also the support they need to improve their circumstances. With the Trust’s donation we are now able to complete the project on time this summer and deliver these facilities for the benefit and enjoyment of residents of all ages.”

Mike Herbert, regional director for St. Modwen added:

“We are delighted that the St. Albans Community Centre has become a recipient of funds from the St. Modwen Environmental Trust. As an active developer in Stoke, St. Modwen is extremely aware of the changes many communities have gone through following the decline of the mining industry and Blurton is a prime example of a local community striving to progress and forge a positive future for its residents. As the developer of Trentham Lakes, which is located on the site of the former Hem Heath colliery and adjacent to the Blurton community, it is pleasing to have the opportunity to able to assist in this way. While the project has been overseen by the Parish it is being managed and organised by the people of Blurton who have demonstrated genuine passion and determination to create a new focal point for their community. The new Centre already looks fantastic and I’m confident it will prove to be an invaluable asset to the people of Blurton when it opens.”

Built in 1957, St Albans has been used constantly by church and community groups for the past ten years. The refurbishment project for the Community Centre is due to be completed in May and involves building an extension for a community café with modern kitchen plus dividing the existing community hall into three soundproofed rooms for simultaneous usage and bringing the building into line with current environmental guidelines. Managed by a committee of local people, the completed Centre will introduce mixed income streams to ensure its long term financial sustainability.