16th Mar 2018
Once the heart of its community, the Newcastle West End Youth and Community Centre will continue to support and inspire young people for years to come thanks to the David Dockray West End Young People’s Fund at the Community Foundation.
The much-loved Community Centre, which many remember as the West End Boys' Club, closed in 2006, and the fund was set up in its place a year later. In that time, the David Dockray West End Young People’s Fund has become a lasting legacy to the club’s founder, who watched it grow from strength to strength after initially setting it up in the 1940s in the garage of his Fenham home for his son Denis. Following the sale of the land in 2007, a £1million fund was set up to support projects that benefit children and young people in the West End, transforming bricks and mortar into much-needed cash.
But the emotional decision to sell the site to a developer was not an easy one, as June Maddock, former centre co-ordinator, explains: “Many people still have fond memories of the club, it was a place for people in the West End to have fun. Sadly, during the final years of its existence the club struggled financially and the committee made the heart-breaking decision to sell off the building and transform bricks and mortar into a £1 million endowment fund at the Community Foundation. Ten years later we have been able to award nearly £450,000 in grants to youth projects in the West End and we’re delighted with its success.”
One of the first grants from the fund, for £6,530, was awarded to the Fenham Hut community centre to fund a six-week summer holiday project for more than 200 young people in 2007. Activities like music lessons, abseiling, healthy eating, drama and keep-fit sessions were run at the centre.
June Maddick adds: “The Community Foundation has done a fantastic job with the David Dockray West End Young People’s Fund. To give away so much money to support young people in the West End but still have the original amount of capital in the fund is fantastic and it means we can continue to do good and inspire future generations of young people too. I’m sure David Dockray would be very pleased with what we have achieved and long may it continue.”
Su Legg is the Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation who oversees the Fund. “The West End of Newcastle is a hugely diverse and resilient area but one that still faces many challenges," Su says. "Many families struggle with isolation and poverty and through the fund we can make a difference and improve the lives of local young people. The fund has many success stories but two organisations that have particularly benefitted are Fenham Association of Residents (FAR) and Wingrove Primary School. In the last ten years, the FAR centre has received 24 grants totalling £98,969 whilst Wingrove Primary School has received 16 grants totalling £23,084.”
Mark Gowland, Project Manager at Fenham Association of Residents, says: “For the past 30 years FAR has supported families to connect, breaking patterns of social isolation in the communities and prove a range of opportunities for learning and recreation. As one of our core funders, the Community Foundation has been able to give their backing to a wide range of activities that support low income families in the area.”
Jane Mullarkey, Head Teacher at Wingrove Primary School, adds: “Thanks to the support of the Community Foundation we’ve been able to enhance the opportunities we provide for children and parents in the West End. This ranges from fun outdoor adventure activities and trips to the pantomime to a crèche for parents undertaking job enterprise training. Wingrove Primary School accommodates 472 children from nursery and reception to Year 6. We expect children to develop the necessary skills and knowledge reaching their full potential in all aspects of school life.”
For more information about funding opportunities at the Community Foundation, or to apply for a grant from the David Dockray Fund, visit www.communityfoundation.org.uk/applytrue