Helping Hands part of the Lifeline Community Action charity is offering a lifeline to the underused Western Area Community Centre known as Silverdale House. For a number of years local hardworking volunteer, Dorothy Bowman, has used the centre to bring many different types of activity for the benefit of residents, starting with the Junior Neighbourhood Watch. This organisation still has the peppercorn leasehold from housing association Livin.
However in the last year while Dorothy has been treated for a serious illness the building and many of its activities have ceased.
Plans evolved for West Cornforth Partnership to take it over and provide courses, but came to nothing so Lifeline Community Action, an active Church in Newton Aycliffe, stepped forward with their proposals to breathe new life into the centre.
A meeting was held last week of all interested parties including the landlord and County Councillors and it looks very likely Silverdale House will re-open soon in partnership with the existing leaseholders to provide a very active programme to attract the community through its doors.
Much renovation work is required before this can happen, but ‘Helping Hands’ with its many committed volunteers are eager to get started to provide recreational facilities for every age group focussing on social inclusion.
The Drop in Cafe will remain and  courses to be offered include a Job Club, Money Management, along with fun activities including crafts, singing and dancing. A Dementia Club run by Dorothy Bowman is also part of the scheme.
Susan Sadler, founder of Lifeline and helping Hands said: “We will have an ‘open door’ policy where users of the centre become friends”. Dorothy Bowman added: “We want to serve the whole community and provide something worthwhile in a safe environment”.
There is a possibility with the assistance of Livin that the exterior appearance may be softened to be more inviting.

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