A COMMUNITY centre that has helped hundreds of people find work is appealing for funding to help maintain services.

The LADDER centre, in Ferryhill, first opened its doors 17 years ago after converting two semi-detached homes into a community building.

Since then, the centre has helped local residents find work, get into training, join in activities and learn new skills.

However the centre is completely self-funded and is continuously searching and applying for grants to help maintain services.

Some services have already been cut this year because of a lack of funding.

Kath Merrington, who has managed the centre since it opened, said: "It is a real shame when popular and well attended events have to be pulled because we are unable to fund them.

"We are always aware that nothing is guaranteed and we might not be able to keep services running indefinitely.

"We have numerous funding bids in at the moment, but we don't have the staff to search and apply for grants full time.

"We would like to thank Ferryhill AAP and Ferryhill Town Council for their support and other organisations who have helped fund the centre."

The centre currently employs six members of staff on a part-time basis and funding has to cover wages, as well as the running costs of the centre and all activities.

Mrs Merrington added: "If we don't secure some more funding it would mean a further cut in sevices. We are trying desperately to keep them going but we just don't have the funding to do that.

"We can change people's lives here and we do actually make a difference."

Peter Atkinson, County Councillor and chair of the board of trustees said: "The work that the centre does is absolutely fantastic and I think it is vital that Ferryhill has a resource like this.

"When Kath says that it is life-changing she is right and I genuinely don't think people realise or appreciate the work that goes on here on a daily basis."

During the last year the centre has helped 85 people find employment, 39 people work on a voluntary basis and enrolled a further 89 onto some kind of training.

Upcoming courses include digital age awareness and stress and resiliance training.

For more information drop-in to the centre at 5 Coniston Road, in Ferryhill or call 01740-651639.

Alternatively search Nigel Jones Ladder New on Facebook.