Celebrating 50 Years of Eastlea Community Centre

2021 was a special year for Eastlea Community Centre – 50 years since the Community Association was founded in the old High Colliery School building, and 20 years since we moved in to our distinctive purpose-built accommodation in Stockton Road, Seaham.

Plans for a celebration were put on hold by the measures brought in to combat the coronavirus pandemic during the year. But just look how we marked the anniversary in a very special way.

With funding from East Durham Trust's Stop Poverty In East Durham (Spied) project, our talented friends at Creative Youth Opportunities, in Seaham, worked with some of our families to produce this colourful graffiti art on the wall around our field, outlining the Centre's history and its place in the community.

The art project was a chance for family members to engage with each other and work together – an opportunity which had been denied to them during the weeks of lockdown, as the country shut down in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The miners' lodge banners on display in our hall, and included in the artwork, are a reminder that the area grew up around the old Seaham Colliery – the “Knack” pit – and it was in 1971 that the nearby school, which had closed three years earlier, became a community centre. It continued to thrive, eventually moving into its current base in 2001, later adding a garden area and the very successful Tots R Us Nursery, which complements our other youth services including the popular Fridays Are Brill (Fab) youth club.

The wall art depicts all the Centre's activities which help people in our community to connect with each other, as well as our annual Christmas grotto.

But the momentous events of 2020 and 2021 couldn't be ignored, and the way the Centre stepped up to help those struggling through the lockdowns is also recalled.

So, echoing the call painted on the wall – Let's celebrate 50 years!


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