An educational centre in the heart of a Chester-le-Street estate has been given a new look before re-opening its doors to the public.
The Foundation of Light, which is the charitable arm of Sunderland AFC, runs educational programmes from the Centre of Light unit based on the Gibside estate.
The Foundation, working in partnership with Karbon Homes, has delivered employability, social inclusion and health programmes from the centre since 2009.
The partnership encourages and engages young people and adults from around the area to participate in educational programmes such as Family Learning, Tackle It workshops, ‘Kicks’, drop in evenings and activity days.
Sunderland AFC goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter and defender Alim Ozturk visited the centre this afternoon (Tuesday 16 October) to meet participants and staff and to officially re-open the new centre.
A large proportion of the costs to refurbish the centre, which includes full painting and re-decorating, new carpets throughout, new desks, chairs and computer equipment, was covered by one of Karbon’s heating manufacturers, Ideal Boilers. £4,200 was donated by the company as part of its corporate social responsibility work - making a small contribution for every boiler that has been installed into one of Karbon Homes’ properties.
The Foundation uses the power of football and the Sunderland brand and badge to deliver a range of employability, social inclusion and health programmes to over 30,000 children and adults a year.
Since opening its doors on the Gibside estate, the Foundation has engaged with over 2,500 children and adults and hope to continue engaging with even more from the new facility.
Karbon Homes has just extended its contract with the Foundation to deliver programmes that will focus on outcomes that involve Karbon tenants.
Jessica Wray, Community Involvement and Investment Officer at Karbon Homes, said: “Our aim is to support the local communities where we operate and improve residents’ prospects of securing housing, health, employment and education.
“We have worked with the Foundation of Light for a number of years across Chester-le-Street and Derwentside, supporting their valuable work in delivering schemes in these communities.
“It is fantastic to see the Centre of Light given a new lease of life and I hope many residents will be encouraged to access these services. I would like to thank our manufacturer Ideal Boilers for contributing towards the costs of the refurbishment and also Robbin and Alim for taking time to officially re-open the centre.”
Craig Martin from the Foundation of Light, said: “We’re delighted to see the Centre of Light refurbished after being well used by people from the local community over the years.
“The Gibside Centre of Light has long been established as a place where people from all over the estate can come to learn new skills, meet new people and have fun thanks to the continued support of Karbon.
“The refurbishment has made it even more inviting than before and we look forward to welcoming even more people through its doors in the coming years.”
Daniel Curran, Key Account Executive for Ideal Boilers who has been working with Karbon Homes on the project, said: “We are delighted to have contributed to the re-launch of the Centre of Light and look forward to seeing it benefit the local community.
“As a company, we recognise the need to integrate progressive Corporate Social Responsibility values into the daily management of the business; and through our Contractor Connect loyalty scheme we are able to facilitate this on a more regular basis.”
The Centre of Light is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, with late opening on Wednesday until 7pm. For more information, please contact the Foundation of Light on 0191 389 4077.