Carol Kerr

Celebrate good times at Resource Centre

The Resource Centre continues to be a draw for party bookings in Middlesbrough. The centre’s 90 capacity Ford Hall has private access to beautifully maintained gardens and a patio area, which have been preened ready to host children’s birthdays, weddings and cultural celebrations this summer.

Last month the centre hosted a teambuilding event for over 40 Actes staff which included a business update, awards ceremony, quiz and a three-course meal, and the centre is geared up to host similar events during the school holidays, and all year round.

Angie Kelly, assistant facilities manager, said: “With our large hall, gardens, kitchen and on-site parking, the Resource Centre is the ideal venue to ensure celebration events are successful and memorable.”

For booking enquiries contact the Resource Centre events team on 01642 255 001.

Community Gardening Group Blossoms

A group of green fingered residents have got the gardening bug at the Resource Centre, as part of an initiative to unite the local community by growing produce and flowers.

The gardening club has recently began meeting at the Meath Street facility each Friday afternoon to plan projects in the Linthorpe and Gresham communities, and grow an array of produce in the centre’s greenhouse including tomato plants, courgettes, broad beans, French beans and more. 

The club, which comprises a core group of eight residents, is an offshoot of the alleyways co-operative established five years ago to encourage people to take pride in their area. The gardening club hopes to support the homeless café and is currently planning community improvement projects including a hanging basket scheme in the Essex Street and Harford Street alleyway, entering the annual Gresham in Bloom initiative and a partnership with the local Police Community Support Officers to develop an allotment garden and alley space to help tackle anti-social behaviour and provide residents with a safe and beautiful shared community space.

The gardening club is led by Catherine Howell who previously worked with Middlesbrough Environment City’s One Planet Middlesbrough project, which was designed to engage Middlesbrough residents in actions that promote sustainable living and behaviours.

Commenting on the Resource Centre gardening club, Catherine said: “The Resource Centre is an ideal base for the gardening group to meet. The outdoor space and centre facilities are fantastic and the staff are very welcoming and supportive. Not only that, the centre’s location in the heart of the community works really well for us.

“We look forward to meeting at the centre each week to grow produce in the greenhouse and to plan projects designed to enhance the communities where we all live and to bring people together by growing food.”

Angie Kelly, assistant facilities manager at Actes who looks after the Resource Centre, said: “The Resource Centre’s community gardens and greenhouse are ideal for the local gardening club to meet. We’re pleased to provide them with a base to plan projects and grow produce that ultimately benefit the local community. At the same time their work helps to maintain the gardens here which are available to hire for all kinds of events and functions.”

The gardening club also meets and grows plants and different types of produce at Newport Community Hub and at the People’s Park Community Allotment in Gresham to encourage people from across the area to engage with shared spaces for growing fruit and veg in their local communities.

For further information about the gardening club contact Catherine Howell by emailing or visit the gardeners’ Facebook page Alley Pals Middlesbrough or visit the Gresham Community Garden Facebook page @greshamcommunitygarden for more about growing spaces in the ward.

For further information about the hiring the Resource Centre’s interior and exterior space contact 01642 255001

Meet the Team – Chris Wilson

In the twelve years since securing his role at Actes, formerly the West Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Trust (WMNT), site facilities worker Chris Wilson has proved to be able to turn his hand to anything from plumbing to decorating and joinery to landscaping, and now he is passing on this expertise to the organisation’s newest member of staff.

Having initially been employed by WMNT as one of the caretakers responsible for the physical transformation of the West Middlesbrough area, Chris was integrated into Actes’ facilities team in 2014 with a responsibility for the maintenance of its two business and community centres, the Acklam Green Centre and Resource Centre, as well as the organisation’s housing stock.

Chris’s role currently revolves around the Resource Centre and Actes’ 10 houses, working as part of team of four alongside Actes’ assistant facilities manager, receptionist/ administrator and assistant caretaker, to ensure the facility and properties remain in prime condition for customers and tenants.

Over the past four years, the former fabricator/ welder from Redcar has proved to be a valuable asset to Actes’ team of site facilities operatives, taking on a range of tasks which on a day-to-day basis include everything from setting up rooms for meeting and events to maintaining the centres gardens, grounds and sports pitches and doing decorating, repair and maintenance work at the centres and residential properties.  Chris is called upon to undertake a variety of jobs on behalf of Actes, and notable projects include building the organisation’s Trending shop unit at Riverside Park, the base for the charity’s new-concept clothing bank and building a self-contained meeting space at Actes’ head office.

Chris comments: “My role with Actes has involved using the skills I gained in my employment as a welder and fabricator and applying them in a different way. It’s nice to do something different and it’s the variety that I enjoy most about the role, that and working with a great team and getting to know the regular customers who come into the centre. It’s a really friendly and sociable environment to work in.”

Chris has recently completed a project at one of the houses to overhaul one of the property’s gardens, including creating a decked patio area, alongside Louis Marshall an assistant caretaker funded through the Talent Match project.  The project has provided an opportunity for Chris to mentor Louis who is hoping to pursue a career in joinery. Chris has provided on-the-job training and support to at least six young people during his time with Actes.

Chris says: “Louis is very hardworking and enthusiastic member of staff and it’s a pleasure to be able to pass on the skills I’ve learnt during the course of my career to help someone who is starting out in theirs.  He is a quick learner and very capable, as he showed during the recent project to create a patio and decking. I’ll continue to coach him and ensure he has the chance to learn as much as possible from the rest of his time at Actes. I’ve no doubt he’ll go on to have a fantastic career.”

Meet the Team – Jessica Hall Receptionist/ Administrator

Over the past six years Receptionist/ Administrator Jessica Hall has established herself as a key part of the team responsible for the day-to-day running of the Resource Centre, and a familiar face among the regular groups and new customers that use the facility for meetings, conferences, events and activities each week.

Jessica began her employment with Actes as a casual receptionist, acting as a main point of contact at both the Resource Centre and sister facility the Acklam Green Centre, before securing a permanent contract at the Meath Street based facility two years ago.

Prior to gaining employment with Actes, the 27-year-old from Redcar had gained customer relations experience in a role with Virgin Media and as a waitress, which she has been able to build-upon in her varied role with Actes.

Working as part of a close-knit team, Jessica’s day-to-day responsibilities include; ensuring the centre’s rooms are set up in the layout requested by the customer 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, Jessica manages all email and phone enquiries and bookings for the centre and showcases the facilities to potential customers when requested.  The role also involves event planning for celebrations such as children’s parties and weddings, something which she has put into practice for her own daughter’s fifth birthday party.

The Resource Centre attracts a mix of bookings from local businesses and organisations, as well as community groups such as the Tees Valley Asian Welfare Forum, the Health Through Activity over 60s exercise group, Destination Judo and Kumon extra tuition classes. Jessica says that it is building positive relationships with customers that is the most rewarding part of the job. 

She commented: “Dealing with customers is what I enjoy most about the job. The Resource Centre attracts lots of regular groups, so I get to meet lots of lovely customers week in week out who I’ve got to know and built a rapport with.  I also enjoy meeting new customers and ensuring they have a great experience and choose to re-book their meetings and events here.”

Jessica works closely alongside centre manager Angie Kelly, site facilities worker Chris Wilson and Apprentice Assistant Caretaker Louis Marshall, she says that having such a supportive team is another positive aspect of the job. She commented: “We all work really well together to meet the needs of customers. It’s also nice having other members of the Actes team based in the centre, working on other projects to help local people. It’s a really good place to work.”

Over the course of the past two years Jessica has undertaken on-the-job training including an NVQ Level 2 in Business Admin and a range of other courses including first aid and conflict management to support her role.  Outside of work she keeps busy looking after her five-year-old daughter and is getting ready to expand her family with a new baby due at the end of the year.

Essential First Aid training at Resource Centre

St John’s Ambulance hosted Essential First Aid Training for Actes staff and members of the local community at the Resource Centre in March.

Vicky Rountree, school and community trainer at St John’s Ambulance, led two three-hour sessions for 24 people in the centre's Ford Hall. Those in attendance included some of the Resource Centre team who are employed by Actes.

The course comprised of theory and practical exercises covering emergency life support procedures for adults, children and infants. Specific techniques included treating severe bleeding and chest pain and treatment of choking in adults, children and infants.

Angie Kelly, assistant facilities manager said: “Our Ford Hall is ideal for a wide range of uses and this was demonstrated by the St John’s Ambulance training. The Ford Hall offered plenty of space to teach the theory and undertake practical exercises.

“Members of the Resource centre team who attended the training got a lot out of the session and said they’d be better prepared in an emergency situation in the future.”

IT suite upgrade ahead of new course

The IT suite at the Resource Centre has benefited from a significant upgrade to further improve the training facilities available to businesses and community groups hiring the venue. 

One ‘super tower’ linked to 14 terminals on each of the desktop PCs has replaced the previous individual towers, and as a result the facility now has improved connectivity and increased speed for users browsing the internet.

Angie Kelly, assistant facilities manager, said: “The IT suite at the Resource Centre is ideal for training sessions that require simultaneous IT access and this recent investment will ensure that clients have the best experience possible.”

The improvements were made ahead of the launch of a new eight-day course called Work IT Out which will run fortnightly from the Resource Centre, as well as from the Newtown Community Resource Centre for Stockton residents.

Work IT Out, developed and delivered by Actes’ fully-qualified tutors, is an accredited City & Guilds Entry Level 3 IT and NOCN Level 1 Employability course. It is designed to help people from Middlesbrough and Stockton aged 19 and over to gain improved IT skills that will help them navigate Universal Credit and will support them to meet the requirements of the Jobcentre in searching for work, including setting up and using a Universal Job Match account.

For further information about Work IT Out or to make a referral contact 01642 255001 or email:

Centres spruce-up for spring

Both the Acklam Green Centre and Resource Centre have benefited from improvements in recent weeks to ensure customers continue to receive a warm welcome.

Café Connect in the atrium of Acklam Green Centre has had a fresh lick of paint, had its new logo put in pride of place following a branding exercise and has benefited from new menus and other finishing touches. An exterior banner has also been fitted to promote the café facility to the general-public and encourage walk-ins.

Meanwhile, the centre has had new interior signage installed reflecting the new room names – Roseberry Hall, Taylor Suite, Brownlee Suite, Stainsby Room, Oakland Room and Cambridge Room – following a competition to name them at the end of last year.

The Resource Centre reception area has also had a facelift with new display areas put in place to ensure better promotion of the centre’s facilities and activities.

Donna Smith, facilities manager, said: “We want our customers to have a positive experience when visiting the centres so have made some changes that have really made a difference. We have enhanced the café area which now shows off our fantastic new logo, and our smart new internal signage better signposts visitors around the centre and creates an identity for our first-class rooms.”

Residents Grow Together at Resource Centre

Local residents came together at the Resource Centre to learn how to grow fruit, vegetables and plants as part of the Grow Together project organised by Groundwork North East & Cumbria and funded by Actes. 

Across two days people from the local community, including members of the Tees Valley Asian Welfare Forum (TVAWF) who regularly run group sessions at the Resource Centre, took part in a practical training session and a hands-on gardening session under the guidance of Groundwork project officer Laura Ince-Henry, who provided practical advice on various aspects of horticulture, with a particular focus on pruning techniques.

Local resident Mavis Arnold who is actively involved in horticulture projects in the local community, including leading the transformation of an alleyway in Longford Street and its ongoing maintenance, said: “I'm always keen to expand my knowledge, so when I heard about Grow Together at the Resource Centre I took the opportunity to come along. I often get asked for advice on gardening, so anything new I can learn on the subject is really useful. I know things today from attending the session that I didn't know yesterday!"

Laura Ince-Henry, said: “It was great to pass on my expertise to a really enthusiastic group of gardeners through Grow Together. I hope they can put what they learned into practice both in the Resource Centre garden and in their own gardens, alleyways and yards.”

Angie Kelly, assistant facilities manager at Actes who looks after the Resource Centre, said: “The Resource Centre’s training facilities coupled with our adjoining gardens were ideal for hosting the Grow Together project.  It was great to see those who use the centre regularly, plus some new faces, getting to grips with some basic horticulture under the expertise of Groundwork that they can apply in their own gardens, as well as in the community garden here at the Resource Centre.”

50% off bookings at the Resource Centre

The Resource Centre is offering new customers booking the Ford Hall a discount of 50% off plus 10% off three further bookings. For further details of the terms see the flyer below:

RC 50% off

New Year, New Start

The Resource Centre is increasingly being used as a learning environment and now hosts two regular courses designed to help people achieve their goals. 

Defining Futures runs fortnightly for four days a week and is aimed at long-term unemployed, offering them a fully funded intensive NOCN Level 2 Award in Employability. Supported by a grant from the Virgin Money Foundation, Defining Futures covers practical employability skills such as preparing and tailoring CVs and personal skills development, such as communication, team work and problem solving and the use of social media to build a personal brand. 

In addition, an ICT Provision course geared around the use of IT to secure employment, with a particular focus on setting up a Universal Credit account, runs from the centre each Monday. Delivered by Actes’ YEI New Directions recruiter, Ian Brady, the course is designed for clients referred via Job Centre Plus to help move them closer to the employment through the use of ICT.

Angie Kelly, centre manager at the Resource Centre, said: “The centre is perfectly suited to deliver courses of this kind. Our IT suite comes equipped with 14 desktop PCs, excellent connectivity, presentation equipment and in-house catering.”

For more information about Defining Futures including course dates contact Abigail Fields via For further information about the IT Provision including course dates contact Ian Brady via