The Newington Community Centre, Ramsgate

The Newington Community Centre is set in the centre of the Newington estate and for decades has provided services and support to the residents there.

 

Newington is a unique area which is outside the main town of Ramsgate and is home to approximately 5,500 inhabitants. The estate was built for residents in the 1940s, by Ramsgate Borough Council to replace houses destroyed in the Second World War. The houses are substantial and well-built with large gardens. The Newington estate was planned with plenty of open space, communal areas and trees, and provides safe spaces for children to play. A number of the homes on the estate are no longer local authority owned housing, but are now owner occupied. However, the community remains close. Newington is also one of the most deprived areas in Thanet and, as a result, experiences considerable health inequalities, affecting both the physical and mental health of its residents.

The community centre has historically received funding from a variety of sources to provide a range of services including small grants from Ramsgate Town Council. Recently, the community centre has received additional funding from the government’s Levelling Up Fund to provide necessary improvements to the kitchen and to upgrade the core of the building. The plans are exciting. They incorporate an internal courtyard and extensive refurbishment. This will enable the centre to extend its much-needed programme of events, clubs and educational opportunities.

The Newington Community Centre, ably run by Cara and Angela, also houses a number of Ramsgate community activities including Looping the Loop, Screaming Ally, the Kent Film Club, the Carnival etc. In addition, there is a food bank where a range of products are available for residents.

The Newington Centre is fortunate to have Mike who is a passionate chef. Mike is keen to spread his knowledge and to use food and its preparation to bring the community together and to open up conversations.

There is a food club on Monday and Thursday, (9am to 12noon), that is for Newington residents only. There is a Family Cooking group on a Tuesday, (3:30pm to 5pm), which brings families together to try new recipes and to cook together, although this is free there are a limited number of places.

There is a community lunch club which takes place on Wednesday, (12:30pm to 2pm), and consists of a two-course meal cooked by Mike and his volunteers costing £5 – a complete bargain! It is at this event that you can meet your local Newington ward councillors: Councillor Rick Everitt, Councillor Pat Moore and Councillor Jane Hetherington, who attend the lunch to meet residents informally. Additionally, Mike hosts a curry club which is a free, men only event on Tuesdays, (5:30pm to 7pm), where men and their sons learn how to prepare and cook a curry.

The hall is also used regularly for bingo on a Wednesday night, (7pm to 9:30pm), and the Isle of Thanet Canine Association run ring craft and training on a Thursday night, (7pm to 9pm). Additionally, for younger residents aged 7 to 11 years, Inspiration Creative runs a small inclusive drama group. There is also a free craft club every other Tuesday at Copperfields, (supported living housing). The new centre will help address some of the issues in relation to deprivation that affect this community.

 

Written by:

Councillor Jane Hetherington, Newington Ward

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