New era beckons for South Shields community centre

Ocean Road Community Association.
Ocean Road Community Association.

A community centre in South Tyneside has moved into a new era with a team of trustees taking over the running of the building.

Ocean Road Community Centre has created a Community Interest Organisation in a bid to protect the future of the venue.

Staff and volunteers at the centre say they are “excited” for the future at the venue in Ocean Road, South Shields.

As well as the centre’s existing groups, it is hoped even more people will call in and see the potential of making the venue their base.

A number of rooms - including those ideal for office space - have also become available to rent which could be used for those just starting out in the world of business.

Examples given by the committee for enterprises at the centre include a nails bar, hair and beauty salon, a chiropodist or an osteopath.

The kitchen and cafe area is also available for a catering business to rent.

The move, taken by the centre’s committee, follows South Tyneside Council’s decision to pull funding from community centres as one of a number of cash-saving measures being taken by the local authority.

Centre manager, Liz Stephenson said: “There are exciting times ahead of us from the trustees point of view.

“Becoming a CIO is a big thing for us to take on, but it is also such a positive move for everyone. It will mean we will have more control over what we do in the centre and make the venue even more community led.

“For our current members moving forward, nothing will be changing, we will have the same groups but there will also be new opportunities for more groups to come in and establish themselves within the community centre.

“We are all confident we can make this a success.”

Coun Audrey McMillan, who is a committee member, said: “The community centre is an ideal location for anyone starting out in business as there is so much passing trade.

“We are really keen to have someone come in and take over the running of the coffee shop and hopefully we can start putting things in place by March.

“The centre is well-used with around 300 people a week coming through the doors. We would welcome inquiries from anyone who would like to set themselves up within the centre or who would like to take a look at the space available for use.”

Coun McMillan added: “This is such an exciting time for the centre and we are all looking forward to the future and working with not only our existing members and visitors but also our future members.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the opportunities available at Ocean Road Community Centre contact Liz Stephenson on 423 0787