Full sail ahead for projects given grants worth £150k

The director of Hirst Welfare in Ashington Gail Balance celebrating after the Coalfields Regeneration Trust gave them a grant for �64 000.
The director of Hirst Welfare in Ashington Gail Balance celebrating after the Coalfields Regeneration Trust gave them a grant for �64 000.

A CHARITY hoping to create more than 60 jobs by pushing the boat out – literally – and a community centre have been given more than £150,000 worth of grants between them.

The Blyth Tall Ship project has been awarded £87,885 by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to spend on staff costs, rent, workshop materials and other overheads.

The director of Hirst Welfare in Ashington Gail Balance celebrating after the Coalfields Regeneration Trust gave them a grant for �64 000.

The director of Hirst Welfare in Ashington Gail Balance celebrating after the Coalfields Regeneration Trust gave them a grant for �64 000.

The project, offering education about the maritime heritage of Blyth, is aiming to improve the career prospects of young people not in employment or education.

Based at Blyth’s south harbour, it hopes ultimately to build a tall ship capable of recreating a pioneering voyage from the town to the Antarctic by collier brig captain William Smith in 1819.

Project manager Clive Gray: “We’re absolutely delighted really.

“We know we’ve got a fantastic job, inspiring and helping people think about doing things differently in their lives, and this enables us to help.

“We work with young people aged from 16 to 25 who are not in education or employment.

“Not only does it get them qualifications, but we introduce them to employers and further education providers.

“This funding secures the project for the next 19 months, and I’m absolutely chuffed to bits.”

Also in the money is Ashington’s Hirst Welfare Centre.

It has been given £64,245 to cover the cost of salaries and training for two members of staff.

Facilities at the centre include a hall, café, training room, youth room, crèche, office space, gym, dance studio and football pitches.

The centre is in use seven days a week and provides sports coaching, training and skills building programmes, as well as acting as a social centre.

Director Gail Ballance said: “It is absolutely fantastic news.

“We are very grateful for the trust’s support for the work we deliver at the centre.

“The trust supports the ethos of the centre.

“All of the grant funding means we can subsidise the cost of the activities we deliver.”