England women’s rugby star opens South Shields charity’s extension

ALL SMILES ... pictured at the ribbon cutting ceremony are (from left) Stuart Franklin, from JDDK Architects, Ruth Berkley, the chairwoman of WHiST, David Foster, from the Big Lottery Fund, Stella Matthewson, mayoress of South Tyneside, Fay Cunningham, Mayor of South Tyneside and rugby player Tamara Taylor.
ALL SMILES ... pictured at the ribbon cutting ceremony are (from left) Stuart Franklin, from JDDK Architects, Ruth Berkley, the chairwoman of WHiST, David Foster, from the Big Lottery Fund, Stella Matthewson, mayoress of South Tyneside, Fay Cunningham, Mayor of South Tyneside and rugby player Tamara Taylor.

A CHARITY which is helping women in South Tyneside reach their full potential has celebrated the opening of a new extension on the building it calls home.

Women’s Health In South Tyneside (Whist) has received a huge boost to Salus House, in Mile End Road, South Shields, where it has been based since 1999.

Entertainment at the opening of the Whist extension included live music.

Entertainment at the opening of the Whist extension included live music.

Work to expand the building has been completed – increasing the number of rooms it now has available to run courses and host meetings.

The extension, which boasts two training rooms, three consultation rooms and therapy and volunteer rooms, was officially opened by England international women’s rugby player Tamara Taylor.

Whist chief executive officer Angela Oxberry said: “We are delighted to launch the extension of Salus House.

“This extension will allow us to offer the women of South Tyneside so much more support and help.

It’s actually coming to the centre and speaking to the people who benefit from Whist’s work that makes you realise how important their work is.

Tamara Taylor, England women’s rugby international

“We have a growing membership base which has grown by over 50 per cent in the last four years, and we still open our doors to anyone in the region.

“Our services are open to all women, regardless of age, ethnic background, disability, sexuality or financial circumstance.

“Our aim is to offer them support and potentially training to give them confidence and increase both their physical and emotional wellbeing.

“We are not the biggest charity, but we have established a tremendous home here at Salus House, which is now set up to provide the women of South Tyneside with wellbeing and support for many years to come.”

A Tai Chi display was also among the events which visitors saw at the opening of the new extension.

A Tai Chi display was also among the events which visitors saw at the opening of the new extension.

The charity was set up in 1986 by a volunteer group of women to help and support women by offering advice and information.

Since then, it has grown to offer women of South Tyneside a wide range of support and provision with a holistic approach to physical and emotional wellbeing.

Services vary from counselling and group support to physical exercise and complementary therapies.

The charity currently has in excess of 4,000 membership base, with over 250 individual women using WHiST services each week.

The Salus House extension was designed by Newcastle-based architects Jane Derbyshire and David Kendall (JDDK) Architects, and made possible with funding from the Big Lottery Fund, with contributions from tins and collections, including the Clothworkers Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation.

Tamara Taylor said: “It is a real privilege to be invited along to Whist to open their new Salus House extension.

“It’s clear that they do some great work in the local community, but it’s actually coming to the centre and speaking to the people who benefit from Whist’s work that makes you realise how important their work is.

“The North-East has a tremendous community spirit and WHiST is a great example of this.

“Many of the support workers are volunteers, giving up their valuable time to improve the wellbeing of others.”

* For information about Whist, visit its website HERE.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa