New centre to aid local community

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Former Newcastle United chairman and entrepreneur Sir John Hall has gone back to his roots to open a new family support and substance misuse centre.

Northumberland-based ESCAPE Family Support raised £300,000 to refurbish the former NUM building to create the Susan Kennedy Centre in Ashington’s South View, after it was bought at auction two years ago.

The centre is to become a community hub offering the charity’s family support and substance misuse services as well as counselling, complementary therapies and training opportunities for people living in Ashington.

Charity chief executive Janet Murphy said: “The opening of the centre marks an important development in ESCAPE’s expansion and we are delighted that Susan’s family allowed us to name the building in her memory.

“Susan was the heart and soul of ESCAPE. We all miss Susan but this building means she will never be forgotten.”

Ashington-born Sir John Hall’s links with the charity go back to the very roots of the organisation.

In the late 1990s, Newcastle United played a charity match against Blyth Spartans.

The money raised was divided among local causes and one of the grateful recipients was ESCAPE Family Support founded by local mum, Janet Murphy.

Janet’s daughter, Jennie, had died of a drug overdose and the charity was set up to provide support for families of substance users where none had previously existed.