Words by Adam Smith
Staff at the former Highcroft Sports and Social Club, which reopened as a community centre last year after being closed for two years, are celebrating after being given a grant to help its resurgence.
Highcroft Community Centre, Slade Road, was forced to close in October, 2017, due to financial problems and then again earlier this year, just months after reopening, due to the pandemic.
However, now the centre is back open, thriving and hosts a variety of groups and outreach community projects in Stockland Green.
Electricity company Western Power Distribution has given the club a £750 community grant to be spent on a new games room which will be available for the Stockland Green community to use.
Pauline Wright runs the bar at the centre and is delighted with the cash injection.
“From my experience running the bar at the Highcroft Community Centre and the people who support us are some of the nicest I have met. It’s like one big family and this grant can only bring more happiness to many by enabling the use of the games room.”
Centre manager Maxine McNair also welcomed the grant.
She said: “The funding has been gratefully received. The money is also being used to help upgrade the lighting on the car park and signage, therefore making sure that the building is safe for all that use the centre now and those that will hopefully use it in the future.
“Thank you very much Western Power Distribution.”
The centre also boasts a bar, function rooms, a cricket pitch, darts, snooker and a host of other facilities.
He said: “Highcroft Community Centre has been at the heart of the local community for many years. It is not only a social hub, but also has excellent sports facilities and plays hosts to many local and charitable organisations.
“I have attended countless events at the Community Centre myself over the years.”
Dromey added: “When I heard the centre was experiencing financial difficulties and was forced to close, I felt deeply saddened as it was a huge blow to the local community.
“However, I’m delighted that they were eventually able to reopen and once again be an invaluable community and social hub. I’d like to pay tribute to everyone involved with getting Highcroft Community Centre back on its feet, and I hope this grant from Western Power will help them to continue that process.”
Highcroft Sports and Social Club was a firm favourite of Erdingtonians for decades, however, dwindling membership numbers meant the club was not viable, however, now running as a community centre the place is appealing for local people and groups to use its facilities.
Western Power Distribution’s donated the money to the community centre from its In This Together – Community Matters Fund which was set up at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown to support grass root organisations in delivering care to vulnerable people and families.
The fund supported 300 organisations with £500,000 funding and asked MPs to nominate deserving community projects, another £250,000 has now being allocated to good causes across the country.
Alison Sleightholm, Western Power Distribution’s Resources and External Affairs Director, said: “Highcroft Community Centre is a multi-function community hub offering space for local groups to run activities from wellbeing, recreation, community development including cricket.
“The funding will be used as a contribution to refurbishing the games room in the centre which will enable greater usage of this vibrant hub in a challenged ward.”
She added: “Throughout this crisis we have worked tirelessly to support our local communities and keep the energy flowing to our 7.9 million customers.
“The crisis is far from over and as we enter the next phase of the UK’s response to the pandemic, we’re delighted that 92 MPs in our regions have nominated deserving causes for up to £1,500 of funding.”
For more information on Highcroft Community Centre, visit www.highcroftcommunitycentre.co.uk
For more on Western Power Distribution, visit www.westernpower.co.uk