COMMUNITY centres across County Durham are receiving financial assistance to survive the challenges of coronavirus.

Recreational facilities have been granted support from their local Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) to help cover the cost of utility bills and insurance, at a time when they are receiving no income.

Durham County Council has given £1.4 million of coronavirus Financial Assistance Funding to its AAPs.

The funding is being used to assist community organisations in their upkeep throughout the coronavirus outbreak, to ensure that facilities and services remain available to everyone when they can reopen.

Crook Community Leisure received a monetary boost from the AAPs’ coronavirus fund.

The venue provides a range of services, from gym facilities to exercise classes, and is home to a range of clubs and local organisations such as the town’s Friends Together group.

When government guidelines closed the centre, the 3 Towns Partnership awarded a grant of £5,000 to cover the centre’s gas, electricity, insurance and equipment costs during the crisis.

John Winter, Chairman of Crook Community Leisure, said: “The trustees were delighted to have been supported by the Three Towns Partnership in the funding which was released by Durham County Council.

"This was over and above that which the government had made available.

“The grant will add to the certainty that we have in that when we are allowed to open again there will be no risk to the business or to the employment of four key staff. The support from Durham County Council in general and the 3 Towns Partnership in particular has been fantastic.”

Staff at the AAP worked hard to ensure that funds were granted to Crook Community Leisure in just five days.

The Glenholme Centre, also in Crook, was granted £591 by the 3 Towns Partnership, from its coronavirus fund.

The centre provides support for community groups and vulnerable people through activities in a safe environment, is open to all and is run by volunteers.

Ian Lyle, CEO of the Glenholme Centre, said: “Glenholme Centre very much appreciates the financial support from Durham County Council via the 3 Towns Partnership to help ensure that beyond the corona virus lockdown we can continue to provide help and support for local people to overcome social isolation and improve mental wellbeing through our ongoing activity program.”

A third organisation in the 3 Towns Partnership area, the SLAM Community Development Trust, has also received a grant to help offset the income it has lost as a result of coronavirus.

The organisation, which operates the town’s Spectrum Leisure Centre, provides a range of services including gym membership and a variety of fitness classes.

The 3 Towns Partnership administered a grant of £6,562 to assist with centre’s gas, electricity and insurance costs.

Ian Hirst, CEO of Spectrum Leisure, said: “I’d like to thank the team at the 3 Towns Partnership - they have pulled all the stops out to help us in this difficult time. Secondly, I’d like to thank the funding team for working so quickly to get the funds to us. They have really been a life saver at this moment.

“SLAM CDT like many other voluntary sector organisations lost their entire income when lockdown happened. We’ve not been able to access any other grant aid to date. Our rateable value excludes us from the emergency grants the government made.”

For more information about AAPs’ work and the support and funding they are offering during the coronavirus crisis, visit