A COMMUNITY centre has been awarded £50,000 to give its users a warmer welcome.

Birtley Community Association has been given the Biffa Award grant to install a new heating system and new radiators throughout the community centre.

The Association, based in Ravensworth Road, has a membership of more than 700 local people but with the help of private hires and one-off activities is thought to welcome around 3,000 people through its doors each year.

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The centre is home to a busy parent and toddler group, a pre-school nursery, youth groups and a variety of groups for unemployed people and other groups catering for the needs of older people.

Brenda Price, chairperson of Birtley Community Association, said: “All community users will benefit from the new heating system. It will enable different groups to set the temperature at their preferred level and also have the ability to isolate when necessary.”

Gillian French, Biffa Award Programme Manager, said: “Projects like this are incredibly important for local communities, which is why we look to invest in them.

“The project to update the heating system at Birtley Community Association will improve this facility for local community groups to enjoy for many more years.”