Community project benefits from advice centre’s demise

FIGHT FOR FUNDS ... Jen Fettis and Sue Callender of the St Simon's Community Project.
FIGHT FOR FUNDS ... Jen Fettis and Sue Callender of the St Simon's Community Project.

A VITAL South Tyneside community resource has benefited by £2,000 from the demise of a borough advice centre.

As part of a review of welfare services, Boldon Lane Advice Centre in South Shields formally closed last year, with staff transferring to South Tyneside Council’s welfare rights team.

But it was decided that the cash reserves from the centre should be distributed to other worthy causes throughout the borough.

And the beneficiaries included St Simon’s Community Project in Wenlock Road, South Shields, which received £2,000 from the kitty.

That money has gone into the ongoing running costs of the project.

Once run by nine paid staff, it is now kept going by just a handful of loyal, hard-working volunteers.

The centre remains at the heart of its community, offering drop-in advice for jobseekers, play times and hot meals 
for youngsters, a parent and toddler group, and much more besides.

And in a second boost, the complex has also received a £900 donation from Cleadon and District Rotary Club, whose members meet at The Littlehaven Hotel in South Shields.

Despite adding almost £3,000 to its coffers, St Simon’s is an ongoing battle to remain afloat with the number of fundraising streams open to it, having been vastly reduced in recent years.

St Simon’s development worker Sue Callender said: “We were delighted with both donations and very grateful.

“They help us to keep ticking over, but that’s about all we are doing at the moment.

“Getting access to funding gets harder year on year and that’s why we stage as many fundraising events ourselves as we can.

“It’s very quiet over the summer, everywhere is closed, but in September we will be back on the fundraising trail.

“It’s never-ending.”

If you can help the fundraising efforts in any way, call 424 0690 between 9am and 11.30am daily.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul