Grafton Centre at the heart of the community

THE Grafton Centre in Hyde continues to play a key role in the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the latest initiative is a new jobs club to help people get back into work.

It has been set up with the help of a £17,500 grant from the European Union.The centre has recruited Susan Warburton as project manager on a six-month contract to get the venture off the ground.

The jobs club, which will provide rolling training courses, will offer advice and provide assistance with things like CVs and motivational skills.

Susan said: “There will be more to it than simply helping with CVs.

“Sometimes you lose confidence when you lose your job, so it is about motivational skills and support in getting back into work.”

Local companies have been approached and many have come on board to offer support in helping get people back into work.

The jobs club has begun enrolling people looking for work. They can call in at the Grafton Centre, email graftoncentre.cio@gmail.com or telephone 0161 368 4110.

Another recent venture has seen the NHS relocate to the Grafton Centre to provide eye tests for diabetics who are at a high risk of glaucoma.

The centre was approached by the NHS and was another service it was able to offer.

After being shut during the initial lockdown, the Grafton Centre organised a careful, phased re-opening from August to ensure it adhered to lockdown restrictions.

The advertisement shows the classes which have restarted with a maximum of 20 people for each.

Cllr Philip Fitzpatrick, chair of the Grafton Centre Charitable Trust, explained reopening the centre, which has 630 members and 1,000 visitors each week, is an important community hub and helps combat isolation and loneliness.

“We are open seven days a week and may be people just want to drop in for a coffee or lunch. It is a case of being there for them,” he explained.

The Grafton Centre is growing with a “substantial expansion” earmarked with a planning application due to be determined this week.

It will cost up to £140,000 and funding the building work will be a major challenge. A bid had been made to Sport England for a grant.

Cllr Fitzpatrick said: “Sadly we have to turn people away every week which shows there is a massive need.

“We continue to be successful and are a much-needed asset in the community.

“Brenda Warrington (Tameside Council executive leader) is supporting us, and any donations towards the work, which will hopefully begin early next year, would be welcome.”

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