THE elected Mayor of Middlesbrough paid tribute to business people with big hearts when he opened a new kitchen for members of the Teesside Ability Support Centre today.
Mayor Ray Mallon praised the directors of Court Homemakers and their suppliers, who had donated the £13,000 kitchen at no charge to the Acklam Road support Centre (TASC).
Having been told that Court Homemakers’ director Paul Henderson grew up a few yards away from the centre and had played on its roof as a boy, the Mayor said: “These are businesspeople with a conscience who want to contribute something back to Middlesbrough. They know who they are and where they came from. They are the exception to the rule.”
The Mayor said he hoped the generosity of the suppliers would be noticed by other businesses which might be able to offer support to community projects. “It’s nice to give rather than take,” he told an audience of the centre’s members, staff and invited guests.
Malcolm Turley, the centre’s general manager of day services, welcomed the Mayor and thanked all those involved in creating the new kitchen, which incorporates low-level work surfaces and appliances for use by people in wheelchairs and state-of-the-art equipment, including the latest design in induction hob, which offers a high degree of safety for the centre’s staff and members.
The oven and hob were supplied by AEG. The cabinet ‘tree’ – the framework of the units – was designed and supplied by Court Homemakers, doors were supplied by PWS of Newton Aycliffe, sink and taps by Franke and worktops by Fred Jones, of Riverside Park, Middlesbrough, using Silestone, which offers excellent non-porous anti-bacterial qualities.
The Mayor, who cut a ribbon to declare the kitchen open, said: “When I came into office eight years ago, I said that everybody had to be included in mainstream society. If they aren’t included, they are excluded, and that’s not acceptable. This place is moving along. The kitchen allows lots of people to have a go at cooking, to have independence.
“My thanks and the town’s thanks go to the 26 staff here. The staff pull together. You make this place what it is.”
Malcolm Turley told the Mayor that he when he sent out an appeal for companies to contribute to the cost of a new kitchen, he didn’t imagine that one company would offer to supply and install everything, free of charge.
“It was a terrific, generous offer by Court Homemakers,” he said. “It just doesn’t happen like that very often these days. We are so grateful.”
Paul Henderson, Director of Court Homemakers, said: “I was brought up about 400 metres from here and used to play on the centre roof when I was a kid, so I felt I had an obligation to help when we received the appeal from Malcolm. The centre offers an essential support service to people with differing abilities and their families.
“Our suppliers agreed immediately to provide their services and products free of charge,” said Paul. “Nothing has been too much trouble for them.”