2020 / 21

There’s no denying that 2020 / 21 was an eventful 12 months for everyone, and no less so for Tang Hall Community Centre. Required to close its doors in March 2020, after a few weeks, the centre reopened as a Local Authority Hub, delivering food and basic essentials (as well as buckets of support, empathy and community spirit) to local residents, with the support of its wonderful volunteers, staff, trustees, partners and friends of the centre.

A message from the centre’s Chair of Trustees, Claire Douglas:

“The financial year 2020-21 saw the centre operating under unprecedented conditions forced upon us by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The centre closed in late March 2020 and reopened within days as a community support hub providing food supplies, cooked meals, prescription deliveries and social support to people isolating and in financial need across Tang Hall. The Community Hub and Isolation Grub Club served the community of Tang Hall and beyond throughout this whole period – i.e. three lockdowns and two ‘opening up’ periods.

The willingness of the staff, volunteers, trustees and local community to adapt quickly, to cope and to persevere was humbling. The success of our Isolation Grub Club allowed us to deliver 6,000 nutritious, hot meals, cooked onsite by our partners, to people in need. Working in partnership was instrumental in allowing us to reach so many people. Thanks go out to The Food Circle, Choose2Youth, Tang Hall Big Local, City of York Council, Kitchen for Everyone York, Fairshare, YourCafe, Heworth Ward Funding, Neighbourly, Greggs, George A Moore Foundation, Tesco, National Lottery, The Truemark Trust and the Rotary Club.

Our funders make projects possible and I thank them for their continued support, of numerous guises. These include: the People’s Health Trust and Two Ridings Community Foundation. The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust and Hillards, who donated to a food growing project. Morrisons, Norman Collinson and Jack Brunton funded new automatic front doors. The Brelms Trust, the Rank Foundation, Persimmons and the Co-op helped us change the centre’s lighting to LED. Percy Bilton, the Foyle Foundation, Heworth Ward, Albert Hunt and Leathersellers helped to fund a commercial kitchen upgrade.

Our Treasurer, Ian Purcell, worked ceaselessly with our Centre Manager and administrative staff to ensure the board had a clear and thorough understanding of the financial pressures the pandemic brought. Ian, Stephen Collins and Kim Hill have done a fantastic job. Thanks to their hard work, the centre’s accounts are in an excellent position. We continue to build a secure and sustainable financial position for the centre for the long-term. The outlook, as I said last year, is tremendously positive. Ian stepped down from his role in early 2020 – he was a tough act to follow, given the level of commitment and expertise he brought to the role during the last three years; however, I’m sure our recently-appointed treasurer, Sharon Walsh, will do an equally fabulous job.

We have continued to work hard to build an effective and successful funding strategy. We have been able to retain the role of fundraiser on our staff team. Her successes this year have enabled us to replace our front entry way with fully accessible sliding doors; we also have LED lighting throughout the building and we’ve replaced our ageing kitchen with a fully functioning professional space equipped to feed the large numbers of people that attend our community events (when not under COVID restrictions).

Our team is always looking at how to best serve the needs and aspirations of our community and I’d like to thank them for doing such an excellent job. The fantastic teamwork that is taking place amongst all groups running, using and supporting the centre has allowed the number of organisations and local residents using the centre to continue to grow. The centre is at the heart of our community; people of all ages, backgrounds, needs and interests attend regularly and actively want to join in. Many people have found support, learning opportunities and fun activities here. The centre has a wonderful sense of friendship, fun, acceptance and openness. I couldn’t be prouder to be involved with Tang Hall Community Centre and everyone associated with it.

Our Centre Manager, Stephen Collins, has worked exceptionally hard over the past 12 months. He has gone above and beyond during this very tiring and taxing time. I would like to thank him for everything he does every day that he comes into work. We are very fortunate to have him leading our team. I also wish to record my thanks to the rest of the staff team: Kim Hill, who works in the office and brings significant skill to the centre’s finances, bookings and dealing with enquiries. John Wilson, who keeps the centre spotlessly clean. And Diane Hall brings highly valued fundraising expertise to our team – without her work rate, understanding of our community and dedication, we wouldn’t be able to do any of the projects or building improvements visitors, staff and tenants benefit from today.

We have a stable board of trustees. The team works exceptionally well together and is focused, efficient, open and supportive. The building is in need of constant care and attention, but significant improvements to its fabric have been made. It was built in 1992 and will always need significant investment, particularly if we are to reach our environmental targets and make it a sustainable building. We continue to focus on bringing renewable energy sources to the centre, which potentially includes solar panels and ground source heating. These initiatives will provide greater financial and environmental sustainability for the centre; however, we will need significant financial support from funders to be able to achieve this.

I would like to thank everyone who has brought so much time, vitality, joy and skill to the centre. It really couldn’t run without the tremendous input of commitment, energy and passion that so many of my colleagues, friends and our community bring. We are all tremendously proud of what continues to be achieved at the centre and the community bonds we build on a daily basis.

We are acutely aware of the challenges we continue to face as an organisation, due to the ongoing pandemic, and the health and economic impact it is having on our community. The centre will be instrumental in supporting the needs of the people and families who live around it over the coming years. We feel the financial probity we’ve embedded over recent years, and the shared sense of community attachment, will bring us through this tremendously challenging period.”