A COMMUNITY centre will soon receive a much-needed lick of paint and a new fitted kitchen after winning a competition for a DIY SOS-style makeover.

Charities and voluntary groups from across the North-East entered JDP Contracting Services’ community challenge in the hope of winning the firm’s services for the day.

The Newton Aycliffe-based company was inundated with worthwhile causes but, after much deliberation, it settled on Coundon and Leeholme Community Centre.

Loading article content

On Friday, June 6, a 20-strong team of JDP tradesmen will descend on the centre, rip out the tired kitchen and install a modern replacement, donated by Jewson builder’s merchants in Bishop Auckland.

The team will also paint the outside of the building with the help of local volunteers.

It will be familiar scene to fans of the BBC One series DIY SOS, which sees presenter Nick Knowles and an army of tradesman and volunteers revamp a family home in desperate need of a makeover.

Patricia Clarey, of Coundon and Leeholme Community Centre, said the committee was thrilled to have been selected.

“The kitchen is an important facility, especially when we hire out the hall for events,” she said.

“Having a construction firm give up their time and expertise for free, is priceless. It is worth far more to us than money.”

Last year, Coundon and Leeholme Community Centre, often referred to as the Welfare Hall, was affected by Durham County Council cutbacks.

Determined to save the facility, members of management committee decided to take it on themselves and an asset transfer is underway.

Just over £120,000 has also been secured for essential maintenance work, thanks to an £80,000 grant from the council, section106 money and community fundraising.

However, this will not cover the cost of redecorating the building, including updating the kitchen facilities.

Councillor Charlie Kay, chairman of the committee, said: “We are rural community and there are very few facilities. The centre is vitally important and we must preserve it for the future.

“We can’t thank JDP enough for their contribution.”

Used by more than 300 people per week, the community centre offers everything from mother and toddler sessions and exercise classes; to tea dances and carpet bowls.

Chris Hyde, managing director of JDP, said the cost of the makeover was in excess of £5,000.

“This project stood out as it benefits people of all ages,” he said. I think it is important for businesses to give something back to the community.”