Yesterday I paid my first visit to a local village called Coxhoe. It is the same travelling distance as going to Durham. It is called a village but there are a fair amount of houses and people living there. My reason for going is that I discovered that is a community centre and once a month they hold a concert. The centre used to be run by the County Council but I assume in these austere times many councils struggle to run many public services/facilities and recently this centre was handed over and is run on a charitable bases. I believe the charity is called Active Life
If I was fit and lived nearer I would use it more often and if I had family/friends make use of their rooms for public events. I applaud how they are trying to succeed.
The staff were really friendly. They made everyone welcome and we were treated to sweets when we arrived and complimentary tea/coffee and biscuits after the concert.
The act that appeared came from the Tyneside area and were called Misspent Uke. There were approx 15 in the group mainly playing ukuleles but a variety of other instruments too and they played a real variety of music. They enjoyed playing for us and the audience reaction proved that we had enjoyed them too. Everyone was full of fun.
I found out about the centre and the concert by chance via another great Tweeter Stan Laundon
and now hope to attend as a regular. Should you get the chance to see Misspent Uke, you will go away in a happier frame of mind and with a smile on your face.
The Manager of the centre was so welcoming. Something that is missing from many similar outlets, even my own town could do with somewhere to attract townsfolk and getting them involved in the community. We have the usual access to a bar and football on the TV and Gym facilities. But not much in the way of entertainment and it means travelling which with a limited bus service or the need of your own transport is difficult.
Also present on the day was local personality and a true gentleman Neville Wanless...I am sure he has done much more than this but many(including Mum and myself)remember him as a continuity invision announcer on television and a presenter on a local commercial radio station for many years. He always had a relaxed manner, a smile and a twinkle in the eye and was held in great affection. Frightingly, he admitted to me and if the information is correct on the internet it is a "Long" time since he did either.
After the concert he sang us a song too. Neville still does a little bit of broadcasting presenting a weekly show on Hospital Radio via Radio Tyneside.
The centre could be a half way house in some way as I usually have to travel further North to see acts/performers from Durham and Newcastle etc...but as Coxhoe is approx 30 minutes from Tyneside it could be a way for acts further North to come our way and therefore clipping off the extra journey time for people living in the south of the region. And it also means the centre can dip into the acts from the South of Durham county.
I know of a few acts I could suggest if I was asked that appear at a long established music club on my town(its been going for somewhere in the region of 50 years off and on)
As an aside you know that I like to promote local businesses. A new shop has opened in Coxhoe and is doing well(I again wish we had something similar locally on my own town)it is a sweet shop, the kind many of us will remember from our childhood, the shelves are full of glass bottles of every sweet you can think of. And it also sells American candy too. The shop is based near the church on the main street and is called Bonsai Bonbons. It also has a Facebook Page. Just enter the name...