Bridging the GAP

Community grant goes towards growing Sandwell charity’s expansion plans.

A Sandwell community charity that provides services from childcare to employment training has been boosted by a £1,000 donation from regional building society the West Brom.

The GAP Centre in West Bromwich opened in 2000 with a focus on children, young people and their families.  It runs before and after school clubs, holiday playschemes and a kids’ club, but has expanded to offer volunteering and employment opportunities, a community re-use centre and a community café.

However, the charity has outgrown its Hargate Lane premises and launched a £1.2 million fundraising campaign to move in the next five years.

The grant from the West Brom helped fund the Centre’s annual ball, from which more than £2,300 was raised.  That money will go towards the £120,000 public giving element of the overall campaign target.

Wendy Bent, Operations Manager at The GAP Centre, said: “We’re an organisation that is growing quicker than ever to meet the needs of the local community.

“There’s such a demand for our childcare we could easily double our capacity.  Being in a one-room building is difficult because when the playschemes are on we have to close the other activities, including the café, which means there’s no continuity.

“The donation from the West Brom is very much welcomed and we hope other local businesses will support our appeal.

“Moving to a new building would mean we can improve our services even more.”

The West Brom’s donation was made through the Mercian Community Trust, a partnership between the Society and the Diocese of Lichfield to support community groups and charitable causes in the region.

Jim King, Communications Manager for the West Brom, said: “We’re delighted to have made a financial contribution towards The GAP Centre.  The work it does for families in Sandwell is tremendous and very much in line with the West Brom’s belief in supporting organisations that work to improve the opportunities and quality of life for local communities.”

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