Featured 16 Nov 2021 Image
An iconic building in Newcastle town centre has reopened its doors to the public following a refurbishment.
Residents, shoppers and visitors are once again accessing services from a community and voluntary sector hub at the historic Guildhall now that remodelling works are complete.
The Council has used funding from Newcastle? advanced Town Deal to create versatile meeting space on the ground floor of the Grade II listed building ?making it more suitable for multiple uses ?in order to increase its attractiveness to organisations.
The new-look reception area features a smaller, mobile desk ?which creates extra space with the added benefit of being able to reposition or remove it entirely if required ?as well as two new meeting rooms, redecorated walls and updated carpets. The new desk has been made using the wood from the old one. Meanwhile, the foyer, boasting stunning Minton tiles, has also been repainted with new carpets for the stairs.
The planned refurbishment was carried out while the Guildhall, which dates back to 1713, was already closed due to the pandemic.
The additional rooms are already being used by the Shaw Trust to provide employment advice and it? hoped that they will facilitate more intensive, one-to-one meetings for those receiving support through The WorkShop, a new service delivered by The Realise Foundation. This is based in a unit at the nearby Lancaster Building ?which has also been renovated thanks to the advanced Town Deal ?and aims to help people gain skills, employment and training.
One of the first events was a recent drop-in consultation session on the Council? first draft of a new Local Plan.
16 November 2021 2?uildhall
Council Leader Simon Tagg said: ?? delighted that the much-loved Guildhall is open to the public again, complete with alterations to the ground floor and items such as a lovely, curved desk which has been reclaimed from the old one. This magnificent building has always been light, bright and accessible but the latest improvements make such a difference; we?e optimised the available space to create a flexible area that can be rented out for a variety of purposes. It will be very appealing to a wider range of organisations.
?ow that Covid restrictions have lifted, we?e focusing on building on the successful role we?e carved out for the Guildhall ?as a valuable heritage asset playing a key part in the regeneration of the town centre. This is another great project financed by the advanced Town Deal.?
The Guildhall is currently managed by Support Staffordshire, a county-wide voluntary sector support organisation, while its long-term future is decided.
The Friends of the Guildhall are responsible for staffing and letting out the main reception area between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, when it? open to the public. It is their aim to take over the running of the building in the future.
As well as Support Staffordshire, other tenants currently include Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District and Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society.
Jill Norman, North Staffordshire Operations Manager at Support Staffordshire, added: ?t? great to be able to open the doors to the general public again after a 19 month closure. The Guildhall sits at the heart of the town and is a fabulous resource for the community and voluntary sector. We are pleased to be able to play our part in this and to continue offering our advice and support service to the local voluntary and community sector from the building.?
Anyone interested in hiring space at the Guildhall can contact Jill on or e-mail
© Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel
Featured 16 Nov 2021 Image
Pro Life Fitness Centre Paisley. ?10,000 cheque to ACCORD Hospice and ?10,000 cheque to St Vincents Hospice
L-R Kirsteen Murray (Chief Exec St Vincents), Lynne McPhee (Chief Exec Pro Life Fitness Centre), Caitlin Watret (Pro Life member), Adam Donnelly ( Pro Life member) and Jaki Smart (Chief Exec ACCORD Hospice)
Picture by Contracted Freelance Andrew Neil
Featured 16 Nov 2021 Image
One of Staffordshire? largest Christmas gift appeals hopes for some festive magic as it launches its 10th year.
The Christmas Community Gift Appeal is a partnership between Aspire Housing, Tesco and Stoke City Community Trust which collects thousands of toys and games every year for local children? charities across Staffordshire and Cheshire.
The appeal invites shoppers to purchase a small toy or gift while they are doing their own shopping and then donate it to the appeal via one of the collection points placed in Tesco stores.
Toys and gifts should be brand new and not wrapped in Christmas paper.
Sharon Battiste, Community Connector at Aspire Housing, said: ?t? been 10 years since we first launched the Christmas Gift Appeal, and every single year we?e received tremendous support from our local communities.
?o many of you go above and beyond to support children and families. We know that people will show their generosity again this year, and in advance we? like to say thank you.?The Christmas Community Gift Appeal has collected more than 100,000 toys for local children since it launched in 2011, and collected over 13,000 toys last year even during the height of the pandemic, with donations going to 26 charities for local children.
Liz Locker, Community Champion at Tesco, commented: ?e?e delighted to have entered our 10th anniversary of the community gift appeal, and once again we? like to reach out to our generous shoppers for support.
"Any donation that people can give, no matter how small it may seem, will be gratefully received. Your kind act of purchasing an extra toy or gift during your shopping this year means a child will have a special Christmas.?The appeal launches from Tuesday 16th November across 15 local branches of Tesco, including Hanley, Meir Park, Trent Vale, Kidsgrove, Congleton, Longton, Crewe, Uttoxeter, and Tesco Express stores throughout Staffordshire and Cheshire.
Special toy donation trolleys will be situated at the entrances of all participating stores until 14th December, with shoppers encouraged to donate brand new toys and gifts in the weeks approaching Christmas.
Local organisations have already got into the spirit of spreading joy this year, with donations and support received from Allied Bakeries, Apex Gym in Tunstall, Simpson & Wilde Funeral Directors, and Allied Care. The appeal is looking to connect with other local sponsors.
The Christmas Community Gift Appeal will culminate in a handover event on Thursday 16th December at Bet365 Stadium, where the collected gifts will be handed over to local charities ready to be distributed to the children.
Seen (L-R) ARE Pottermus (Stoke City Community Trust), Liz Locker (Tesco Charity champion) Jack Grocott (Aspire Housing) and Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent Chandra Kanneganti