Carol Kerr

New community bingo session

A new community bingo group is now up and running at the Resource Centre each Wednesday, 12pm to 2pm. 

Organised by the Tees Valley Asian Welfare Forum (TVAWF), the fun bingo sessions are designed to integrate the organisation’s members with other community groups in the Middlesbrough.  TVAWF already runs day care sessions for men and women at the Resource Centre each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday where members get involved in various activities including chair-based exercises, flower arranging, crafts and cookery.

For further information contact Aneeka via email at:

New Directions team move into Resource Centre

The New Directions Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) team has moved into the Resource Centre to help young people in the local area get a new start in life.

The six strong team is working with 15 to 29-year-olds, who are not currently in employment, education or training (NEET), supporting them with CV writing and interview techniques, signposting to jobs, volunteering and training opportunities. They are also   working with young people to help build their confidence and improve their employability skills. 

The New Directions project is back up and running for a second phase after the team helped almost 600 young people from Middlesbrough and Stockton into employment, education and training between July 2016 and July 2018. 

Angie Kelly, centre manager for the Resource Centre, said: “We are pleased to welcome the New Directions team to the Resource Centre.  With the Work IT Out and Free Your Potential training courses up and running here too, our venue is fast becoming a hub for employability support.”

To find out more about Actes’ New Directions programme contact 07801 897 864 or email

Centres recognised for Customer Service Excellence

The Acklam Green Centre and Resource Centre have once again been recognised for pushing the boundaries with customer service standards, having achieved the Customer Service Excellence quality mark for another three years.

The hallmark is awarded to organisations that focus on the individual needs and preferences of their customers. To be recognised as achieving Customer Service Excellence, organisations must meet five criteria; Customer Insight, The Culture of the Organisation, Information and Access, Delivery and Timeliness and Quality of Service.

When describing Actes, owners of the Acklam Green Centre and Resource Centre, the feedback in the report stated; “Actes were found to have a deep understanding of, and commitment to, Customer Service Excellence.  The commitment was displayed from Senior Management levels through to operations and front-line staff.”

The awarding body also noted areas of Compliance Plus, where Actes had gone above and beyond the requirements of the standard.  These included the strong partnerships Acklam Green Centre has built with its customers and tenants including Simon Carson Sports School, which has been able to expand its business within the centre over the past five years, and Cleveland Alzheimers Residential Centre Ltd who use the centre for regular tea dances and cinema screenings.

Donna Smith, facilities manager, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the Customer Service Excellence standard for another three years. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent standards of customer service, taking on board customers’ feedback and continually improving what we do.  This standard is testament to the hard work that goes on across the business to achieve these aims.”

Incredible turnout for Middlesbrough community food gathering

Middlesbrough’s first community food gathering recently took place at the Resource Centre – bringing together everyone with an interest in local food, including growers, producers, retailers and consumers.

The day-long event aimed to strengthen the movement for more sustainable and fairer food which has been building for a number of years within Middlesbrough, and involved a broad range of  people who work within or have an interest in community led food projects (growing, cooking, selling food or eating), to improve the local food system through a more joined up approach and to discuss some new and exciting ideas that people can get involved in.

Guests were introduced to Incredible Edible, a national movement whose vision is to create kind, confident and connected communities through the power of food.  The event marked the launch of Incredible Edible Middlesbrough which will enable individuals and groups to work together under a united banner with the aim of developing stronger networks and links between all the activities which are going on in the area.  

The event introduced the organising group for Incredible Edible Middlesbrough – Liz, a chef, Josh, a coffee shop owner, food activists Laurissa and Catherine and Julian, a local cider maker, together with the North East’s Incredible Edible Network Regional Facilitator, Joe Dunne who also leads the Middlesbrough Food Partnership in his role at Middlesbrough Environment City. 

To kickstart proceedings, Pam Warhurst, founder of the Incredible Edible movement gave an inspirational talk to the 50 plus guests in attendance.  This was followed by a video showing the story of the Kindling Trust based in Manchester and a talk from Dave Laing from the Clucking Pig.  He told the story of his food business which takes eggs from ex-battery hens with local meat, including pheasants shot on game estates that would otherwise be wasted, to make scotch eggs which the Royal Family have enjoyed. 

During the practical part of the itinerary guests heard from the organising group about the projects that have already been identified as priorities and were encouraged to discuss ideas for making them work.  The four projects that are being developed are;

1. A surplus produce kitchen, cooking spare food into saleable products for all to share;

2. A surplus food gleaning group, collecting and redistributing surplus crops from farmers and growers;

3. A producers’ co-operative, a group to support people making and growing food products and selling them;

4. A skills and asset register, where talents and resources can be logged to share, helping food learning and education.

Catherine Howell, a local food activist who runs a number of growing projects across Middlesbrough, including a gardening club which grows produce in the Resource Centre’s gardens as well as at other venues, said: “There’s such a lot of good work going on already across Middlesbrough to promote local food, however the launch of Incredible Edible will bring even more individuals and groups on board and will help everyone involved to work together more effectively to improve our local food system.”

The event took place in the Resource Centre’s Ford Hall and organisers made use of the centre’s large fully-kitted kitchen to cook up a meal for the guests made of local food which had been reclaimed from going to waste.

Angie Kelly, centre manager at the Resource Centre, said: “We were delighted to host the Middlesbrough community food gathering and the launch of Incredible Edible Middlesbrough.  Our large conference hall and adjacent kitchen are ideal for this type of event.

“We’re proud to play a part of the local food movement by supporting groups with access to our gardens to grow a range of produce and we hope Incredible Edible Middlesbrough is a huge success.”

For further information about Growing Middlesbrough visit

For further information about the Resource Centre contact the team on 01642 255 001 or email

H4H bring veterans together with festive workshop

Help for Heroes recently hosted a wreath making workshop at the Resource Centre to help wounded, injured and sick veterans and their families to connect with others in their community.

The workshop took place on 5th December in the centre’s Ford Hall and was attended by 15 Band of Brother members, veterans, family members. The class was run by Sue Owens one of Help for Heroes’ Band of Sisters, a fellowship group for those who care for and support Band of Brothers.

Harriet Wilson, Band of Brothers/Sisters Coordinator North East for Help for Heroes, said: “The workshop was an opportunity for our veterans and their family members to try something different and have the opportunity to meet others in their area and to bring back some of the camaraderie which would have been lost since leaving the military.

“Some veterans can find it very difficult around Christmas so we try to provide free and enjoyable events for them to attend. The wreath making was a huge success. Not only did it successfully bring people from the Middlesbrough area together, they learnt new skills and left with a beautiful festive wreath to display over the festive season.”

For further information about Help for Heroes visit:

New Receptionist at Resource Centre

A new face has joined the team at the Resource Centre and is quickly establishing herself among the regular customers who use the facility for meetings, training, conferences and events each week.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sammi Roberts, a mum of four from Coulby Newham, has joined the facilities team as a part-time Receptionist/ Administrator, covering maternity leave for the next year. 

Sammi boasts 13 years’ work experience having embarked on a Business Admin apprenticeship, achieving NVQ Level 2 and 3, through Middlesbrough Council in 2005.  Her training led to roles within the council’s regeneration and urban policy teams.

The role at the Resource Centre marks Sammi’s return to the workplace after having her daughter last year, and she says she’s enjoying the experience so far.  She commented: “I’ve settled in well at the Resource Centre.  The team are lovely and have made me feel really at home.  I’m enjoying interacting with the different customers and making them feel welcome.  Although I’ve lots of transferrable experience from several years working with Middlesbrough Council in admin roles, I’ve enjoyed learning new things such as using SAGE to generate invoices.”

On a day-to-day basis Sammi will undertake a variety of tasks, working as part of the close-knit team.  Key aspects of the role include; ensuring the centre’s rooms are set up to meet customer requirements and that IT equipment is working correctly, meeting and greeting customers and making sure they are aware of fire regulations and know how to use the IT equipment and acting as a point of contact for customers throughout their visit to centre.  In addition, Sammi will manage email and phone enquiries and bookings for the centre as well as undertaking a variety of admin tasks.

As well as making the return to work, Sammi plans to start her NVQ Level 4 Diploma in Business and Admin in the near future.

The Resource Centre attracts a mix of bookings from local businesses and organisations, as well as community groups. For further information call 01642 255001, email or visit the website

Centre Works Out for trainers

Work IT Out, a free accredited training course designed to help people improve their basic IT skills to be better equipped to secure employment and navigate Universal Credit, continues to run every fortnight from the Resource Centre’s IT suite.

Work IT Out runs for eight days over two weeks (Tuesday to Friday) and carries two qualifications, Entry Level 3 IT and NOCN Level 1 Employability.  The course is aimed at people aged 19 plus from Middlesbrough and Stockton and course elements include navigating a computer, how to apply for and how to use Universal Credit, communication and interpersonal skills, creating a CV and cover letter, budgeting and interview preparation.

Between April and September 112 people completed either part one or both parts of the course, which also runs from the Newtown Community Resource Centre in Stockton. Up to the end of July, 24 people who had completed the course reported that they had progressed into employment, further training or volunteering/ work trials, while 97% reported feeling more confident about job searching upon completion of the course.

Paul Wales, operations director at Actes which developed and delivers Work IT Out, says: “We are pleased with the interest in Work IT Out so far, but we’re keen to secure more referrals so that we can help people in need of employability support and those who would benefit from help in navigating Universal Credit.”

Work IT Out clients have rated the Resource Centre highly in their evaluation forms with 94% scoring the facility as Very Good or Good.

Paul added: “The Resource Centre is an ideal venue to run Work IT Out from due to its on-site parking, excellent IT facilities and in-house catering.”

In addition to Work IT Out, the Resource Centre has recently attracted a number of training organisations who are delivering courses from the facility.  Organisations including Northumbria College, Aspire, Sulzer Chemtech and Working Links have all made use of the centre’s facilities in recent months.

For further information about training facilities at the Resource Centre contact 01642 255001.

Groups make Resource Centre home

The Resource Centre has become the long-term home for a number of groups running regular classes and activities in Middlesbrough.

Tees Valley Asian Welfare Forum (TVAWF), a charitable organisation offering a multi-cultural day care service to frail, elderly and disabled Asian people in Tees Valley runs five classes from the centre each week. TVAWF offers enriching activities such as light exercise, health advice, literacy sessions, discussion groups, day trips, arts and crafts such as flower arranging and knitting, gardening and aromatherapy massage for men and women. Those attending also get to enjoy a two-course meal prepared by the TVAWF team in the centre’s kitchen.

TVAWF has been based at the Resource Centre since 2007 when the organisation was founded. Mrs Raja, who runs the classes, says the facility ideally meets the needs of the group. She said: “The Resource Centre has many facilities that suit us and cater for our needs based on the type of activities we run. The gardens allow us to have our own planters to grow plants and herbs and the well-equipped kitchen enables our team to prepare a meal for the group at each session.

“Not only does it lend itself our varied activities, the venue is bright and spacious and the team are very friendly and always willing to help.  The centre also has the added benefit of on-site parking.

“We still have space for new people to join us, so anyone who would like to get involved should get in touch.”

Another longstanding customer of the Resource Centre is Destination Judo.  For the past four years the judo school has run two classes for children aged five to 15 plus a squad class for more advanced students each Tuesday from the centre’s Ford Hall. 

Craig Mitchell, a coach at Destination Judo, said: “The Resource Centre offers a great location which benefits being close to a number of local schools.”

Angie Kelly, assistant facilities manager at Actes, who is responsible for the day to day running of the Resource Centre, said: “We are delighted to have secured a number of long-term bookings from groups like the Tees Valley Asian Welfare Forum, Destination Judo and many others who run regular classes and activities. Their support means there’s plenty on offer for the local community to participate in.

“We can accommodate additional leisure and community bookings, so we would love to hear from anyone interested in setting up from our fantastic facility.”

Other activities taking place at the Resource Centre include Kumon extra tuition classes, Health Through Activity, Friendly Faces and a community bingo group.

For further information about Tees Valley Asian Welfare Forum contact 01642 765574, 07584 120211 or email

For further information about Destination Judo email

For further information about activities at the Resource Centre or room hire please call 01642 255001

Resource Centre’s training gains

The Resource Centre has experienced a surge in bookings from training companies utilising its fully-equipped rooms and IT suite. Organisations including Northumbria College, Aspire, Sulzer Chemtech and Working Links have all made use of the centre’s facilities in recent months.

Working Links has recently utilised the Resource Centre’s IT Suite to deliver its Level 1 ICT course aimed at providing learners with a basic understanding of computers including navigating the internet and email communications. Michelle Peacock, tutor at Working Links who is delivering the course, says: “We chose to deliver our Level 1 ICT course from the Resource Centre because of its IT set-up. There are not many facilities around that can provide a fully equipped IT-suite to support the delivery of a course like ours. Not only that, the staff at the centre are really friendly and helpful.”

Angie Kelly, assistant facilities manager, said: “The centre is easily accessible from all of the main road routes and is fully equipped with Wi-Fi and presentation equipment, making it an ideal environment to deliver a range of training courses from.

“I’m delighted that companies like Working Links are recognising what the Resource Centre has to offer as a training venue, and I hope that more organisations follow suit.”

For further information or to book contact the Resource Centre on 01642 255 001.

For further information about Working Links’ courses please contact 0800 3100 401.


Meet the Team – Louis Marshall

Twenty-four-year-old Louis Marshall is carving out a career in joinery since gaining employment with Actes.

Louis, who is originally from Nottingham, located to Middlesbrough to study Computer Games Animation at Teesside University before deciding on a change of direction. At this time Louis’ girlfriend was living in one of Actes’ properties where work was being undertaken, inspiring Louis to offer a helping hand.

Louis comments: “My grandad was a painter and decorator and I was always interested in his work. When I saw the work Chris and John from Actes were doing at the house I offered to help out and I really enjoyed doing it and realised that joinery and carpentry was the direction I wanted to go in.”

Recognising that he needed some support with employability skills, Louis then signed up to the New Directions Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), one of Actes’ delivery programmes, where he received a wealth of support to set him up for entering the workplace. His youth advocate Carl helped him to secure his Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card and encouraged him to take on a volunteering role within Actes’ facilities team.

When an opportunity arose through Talent Match to fund the role, Louis was appointed as assistant caretaker with a responsibility for supporting the maintenance of the organisation’s two business and community centres, the Resource Centre and the Acklam Green Centre, as well as Actes’ housing stock.

Louis’ day-to-day tasks are mainly focused at the Resource Centre where he is involved in maintaining the gardens so they’re in pristine condition ready to host a variety of events and activities and tidying and setting up rooms. With guidance from site facilities worker Chris Wilson, Louis is also getting the chance to gain experience in more technical tasks within the properties, such as creating a decked patio; work which supports the Joinery Level 2 qualification he’s currently undertaking with Learning Curve. 

Louis commented: “Chris has been a great motivator and mentor and has given me the opportunity to work on more challenging projects. He has taught me plenty of tips and tricks of the trade and a good work ethic which I will be able to carry forward into my future career.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying my time with Actes; the people are very motivating and are giving me a push in the right direction and I love the projects and making a difference in the local community where I live. I hope in future to develop a career in fine woodworking and furniture making, and my time with Actes is giving me some great experience that will set me off on the right path.”