Appeal to restore Newcastle and Gateshead Centre Against Unemployment

An anti-unemployment centre that has helped thousands of people find work is appealing for funds to repair its city home.

The TUC’s Newcastle and Gateshead Centre Against Unemployment was founded in 1977 and moved to its current home on the Cloth Market in 1986.

But in recent years it has seen funding cut and damage to the building itself following a number of burglaries. “In the last four to five years, the centre has struggled by, continuing to offer advice and education courses,” said founder Alec McFadden.

Though these days it is run by a small group of volunteers.”

Singer Cat Stevens cut the ribbon and opened the centre after £42,000 was raised in just three months to buy and renovate the building almost three decades ago.

And now supporters are to come together again, at a meeting on December 4, with the hope it can once again see the sort of backing that saw the centre able to pay off its mortgage in just 10 days.

We had such support from unions and the people of Tyneside that the mortgage on the building was cleared almost straight away,” said Alec.

Back then, the GMB loaned us around £10,000 and Newcastle City Council gave a grant of £11,000 to restore the building, put in new windows and put new heating in.

“But in the years since then, while helping probably 200,000 to 400,000 people with everything from employment to asbestos exposure and vibration white finger claims, we’ve had some damage.

“Some of that is as a result of a break-in that saw a skylight smashed, with water getting in.

“Realistically, we’re looking at needing an initial £35,000 to restore the building once again, carrying out some roof repairs which are needed.

“And we also need to raise money for staff, as when we started we had six full-time staff, and now there is none.”

The meeting will take place on December 4 at 6pm at the Centre, at 4 Cloth Market.

Anyone interested in becoming involved and helping the centre with fundraising can call 0191 232 4606.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 03 Dec 2014

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