After nearly four years since it was set up it’s been a busy time for the Great Aycliffe and Middridge Area Action Partnership.

A number of local projects have been supported including a programme to give schoolchildren a louder voice.

GAMP funding has been used to support the establishment of a new weekly sports session for eight to 11-year-olds. Sessions take place at the Leisure Centre on Wednesdays between 4.30pm and 5.30pm. The partnership has supported the initiative with £1,000 each from Cllr Joan Gray, Cllr Paul Gittins and Cllr Dorothy Bowman’s Neighbourhood budgets.

The town’s youth centre has been given a facelift with work including new flooring, signage and an updated Wifi computer room. Councillors Dorothy Bowman, Joan Gray, Paul Gittins, Mike Dixon and Sarah Iveson have supported the project. The refurbishment will improve the facilities for the community hopefully increasing user numbers.

Vince Crosby, chair of the management committee, said: “We are very grateful for the help given by the GAMP team. With further funding, by the summer we will have a completely refurbished centre.

“We are currently in the process of purchasing new equipment such as a pool table and table tennis table for young people, who have been totally supportive of this project.”

Adam White, AAP coordinator said: “A key priority for GAMP is to support the local community and voluntary sector. The youth centre is a well used and a key resource in the town which we are delighted to support.”

Local entrepreneurs have been given a step up into business with the ‘Step into Business’ project which aims to support anyone with a business start up idea, living in the Newton Aycliffe area with a package of grants. The project began in January and will run for a year. Cllrs Paul Gittins, Joan Gray, Sarah Iveson, Mike Dixon, John Moran and the late Enid Paylor have supported the initiative.

A popular skate park, built in 2004, has been extended in response to comments made by local young people and how they’d like to see the skate park improved.

Councillors Joan Gray, Paul Gittins, Mike Dixon and John Moran supported the project with £20,000. Newton Aycliffe Town Council will maintain and operate the park once renovations are complete.

The Children and Young People Participation Project has also received support from GAMPS’s Area Budget. The project aims to engage young people living in the Aycliffe area and gives them the chance to have a say on local issues that effect them. The Project will be led by the extended schools programme coordinator.

For more information on any of the AAPs in County Durham in 2009 or for more details on how to be a part of the decision making process by becoming a board member log on to: or telephone the GAMP team on 01325 327441.