Lottery life-saver!

Newton Le Willows Community Centre, Park Road South are celebrating after being awarded a Lottery grant'Pictured outside the club are LtR: Diane Unsworth, Rita Wilson, Norman Riley, Simon Morgan, Les Harrison and Anne Kean
Newton Le Willows Community Centre, Park Road South are celebrating after being awarded a Lottery grant'Pictured outside the club are LtR: Diane Unsworth, Rita Wilson, Norman Riley, Simon Morgan, Les Harrison and Anne Kean

A COMMUNITY centre which was on the verge of closing six months ago has won a £250,000 lottery grant.

Newton Community Centre endured a lean 2010 and almost shut due to lack of funds.

But staff and volunteers are now looking forward to a bright future after securing a bumper hand-out from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.

The cash injection - which totals £251,505 over five year - will be used to fund extra courses for local residents.

Centre co-ordinator Anne Keen said: “We’re over the moon, we really couldn’t be happier.

“Like a lot of other organisation in our sector, last year was a very difficult year and we almost closed. This money will mean will be around for a long time to come.”

The cash will fund a raft of academic subjects as well as more practical skills such as money management.

Mrs Keen added: “This grant will have a huge impact upon the centre and the community as a whole. Working in partnership with St Helens Adult and Community Learning, St Helens Healthy Living Programme and the Workers Educational Association, the grant will allow us to deliver courses and activities that people actually want to attend.

“The project will sustain, develop and enhance existing services by providing a greater choice, a natural progression to higher levels and qualifications and greater accessibility.”

The centre, which is a registered charity, opened in 1987 and attracted more than 30,000 visits every year.

It has six paid staff and 60 volunteers, including 83-year-old Les Harrison, who has worked at the centre since its launch.