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Hartlepool centre brings a positive difference

Ann Heaton and her team took on Kilmarnock Road Children and Young People Family Resource Centre after a previous manager was given a suspended sentence for financial mismanagement. 

At first, the community didn’t use or trust the centre, and it was an uphill struggle for the group to rebuild confidence in the project.  

But over the past two years they have restored its good reputation. Before the pandemic, 100 people were coming through the door every week. Two successful youth clubs, a chair aerobics class and a popular bingo night run by a 93-year-old volunteer were some of the regular activities on offer. 

Strong Communities

Ann, who manages the centre with a small team of staff and volunteers, said: “We’ve created a new way of working: a belief in the centre and more importantly, a belief in the people around here that good can come of this and they can do something useful. 

“One of our mums set up a play group that became so popular she had to add another session. I’ve helped people apply for the funding, but they’ve then made it happen and that makes a difference to the centre and a difference to me. Not only do people want to help themselves, but they can when given the chance.” 

Anglian Water fund community effort

When Covid-19 began, the centre was well placed to help. A £1,000 grant from Anglian Water’s Positive Difference fund, managed by County Durham Community Foundation, has supported its efforts.  

Anglian Water said: Our business operates at the heart of the community, and our employees live locally too. We’re committed to making this region a great place to live and work.  Providing help to support local communities during the current Coronavirus pandemic has never been more important. And that’s why we’ve created the Anglian Water Positive Difference Fund.”

Ann said: “People have struggled through Covid-19 and we have been feeding 20 of the most vulnerable families each week.  

“I spoke to one woman in her 70s who is caring for her grandchildren on a pension. She told me she wouldn’t be able to feed them if it weren’t for the food parcels. It made me take a step back. That’s pretty shocking in this day and age. As soon as she got her benefits sorted she came and gave me a donation so the centre could help someone else.  

“Even when people are having a hard time they are helping others. 

“The funding has really helped. We’ve been able to stockpile food, reopen our youth clubs and let people know that they can come to us if they need help. 

“If I’m not able to help, I know someone who can.”  


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