St. Marys Chequerfield Community Project
Since its ‘rising from the rubble’ on the site of the demolished St. Mary’s Church in 2004, St. Marys Community Centre has become a focal point in the regeneration of Chequerfield and neighbouring areas. This was despite many local doubts that the project would ‘get off the ground’ and, even if it did, would soon become a ‘costly white elephant’.
Facts have proved otherwise and indeed the Centre and its Manager have been presented with two highly prestigious awards for work in the community.
The St. Marys Chequerfield Community Project, based at the Centre, have twice received the Duke of York Community Initiative Award for ‘developing a new community spirit in the area’ and for Centre Manager, Julie Carritt, as Project Leader, a special leadership award for being such an ‘inspirational leadership at the helm’. The awards were presented by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
Julie commented, “Everyone involved with the Centre is ‘over the moon’ at these awards, which are a fantastic accolade and recognise the commitment of our team and the community we support. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our funders, partners and community members and look forward to their future support towards the continued success of the centre. On a personal note, it was a big surprise, but a great compliment, to receive a Leader’s award from such a high profile initiative”.
Julie was the volunteer (unpaid) Project Manager for three years at the former St. Mary’s Church before, and during, its demolition to make way for the new Centre, where she became its full-time Manager when it opened in August 2004. During this period some of the initiatives instigated by Julie included a Job Club and a Youth Drop-in, based in a temporary building on the site.
Today, the Centre has a wide variety of activities and facilities, including computer courses, free cyber cafe, adult learning classes and Job Club. The Centre also houses St. Mary’s Church.
Kebir Berry, Vice-Chairman of the Project commented, “Since the building opened, it has come on in ‘leaps and bounds’ under Julie’s leadership. She has been absolutely superb as Project Manager. She and her staff have done tremendous things for the community and it is now probably one of the best adult learning centres in the Wakefield district.”
St. Giles’ and St. Mary’s churches are represented on the Centre’s Board of Directors by Chairman, Fr. Bob Cooper and Phyllis Frankland.
The above images have been republished with the kind permission of Pontefract and Castleford Express.