Two of the traits that define folk in the North East are our sense of community spirit and our unwavering determination. Both can be seen in abundance in the people of Moorsley, near Hetton Le Hole, and those behind local charity Moorsley& District CIO.

Since 2012 the community centre had been a 40ft portakabin, called The Hut. Determined to get a new centre, locals set up Moorsley& District CIO to raise the funds required for a proper new home.

Work started in June on The Hut Community Hall, a construction project to create a hall, communal kitchen, storage areas, office space and meeting rooms for local residents. MGM Construction won the tender and broke ground in June. It recently invited committee members and other prominent local residents to each lay a brick for the new building to commemorate their efforts.

Ryan Gardiner, director at MGM Construction, said: “We were touched by the story of how this community has come together and fought for the funding to build a new centre. We could tell from the pre-start and progress meetings just how much this facility meant to the local area, So, we felt it was only right to invite down some of the people who led that fight to lay some of the bricks.”

MGM Construction is a leading building contractor in the North East and has a strong track record in delivering a wide range of construction projects.

Jacky Worthington from Moorsley& District CIO said: “I know that everyone who came along enjoyed the experience and to see the progress on building their much-needed community centre. It gave them a final confirmation that it was actually happening at long last.

“It has taken four years of planning including surveys, applications and false starts and then the much-needed funding applications – but that doesn’t take into account the previous 12 years of working to provide the community with a venue.

“Jason and his work colleagues at MGM have stepped up to the mark and are doing a fantastic job with patience and good humour. I am sure that their attention to detail and determination to help the community will win the day and we look forward to continuing to work with them to complete this much-needed project.”

The finished site will also include roof-mounted solar panels to reduce carbon emissions and energy bills, plus accessible toilets and parking spaces for both mobility scooters and buggies or prams. MGM Construction is working with Elvet Chartered Surveyors and Milbank Architects on the project. Funding for the building was raised by Moorsley& District CIO (with support from Groundwork UK) along with grants from the Reaching Communities and 3Together Big Local funds from the National Lottery, North East & North Cumbria ICS, Sunderland City Council, Gentoo, Coalfield Industries Welfare Organisation and Hetton Town Council.

Jason Thompson, site manager, said: “We are proud of what we are creating in Moorsley. It goes beyond bricks and mortar – or in this case blocks and render. A community centre can be the heart of a rural community, so our goal is to give this community the centre it deserves.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback from Jacky and other residents as everyone is delighted to see this project is finally coming to fruition. We remain on target to finish later this year, in time for the building to be utilised for their Christmas party and then so much more beyond that.”

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