We just can’t quite believe it… this month we celebrate the Tim Lamb Centre’s 10th Anniversary!

The Tim Lamb Centre was officially opened on Sunday 4th November 2012 by Denise Welch.  This date marked a huge achievement for our charity, following two years of intense fundraising and requests for help from the community.

Our charity was founded in 2010 by Lynn McManus, following an incident involving her daughter at a soft play centre.  Lynn’s daughter Milly, who has ADHD and is hearing impaired, was put out of soft play because of her behaviour.  This negative experience inspired Lynn to set up an activity club for local disabled children.  Originally the GR84ALL Youth Club met on a weekly basis, but the need for something more permanent soon became apparent.  Isolated families were desperate for specialist facilities, on a much more frequent basis.

Lynn set to work to address this gap.  Working with North Tyneside Council, a vacant community building at the Rising Sun Country Park was identified.  However the building was in a dilapidated state of repair and needed about £400,000 spent on it to bring it back into use.

The building also had a rear garden, but the area was neglected and overgrown.

Following a £60,000 People’s Millions award for new playground equipment, the garden became the first challenge to address.  During the February half term 2012, family volunteers worked tirelessly to clear the overgrowth ready for the playground installation.  Their hard labour paid off because the children and families were able to enjoy the summer holidays in their new play area.

The next challenge was an even bigger one; clearing out and refurbishing the dilapidated building.

This mammoth task, suddenly became a whole lot easier when our charity was chosen to be featured on Channel 5’s Construction Squad: Operation Home Front.  In October 2012 a team of ex-service personnel descended on the Country Park and got to work.  In under a week, the building was unrecognisable from the derelict shell that had stood there before.  All the old fittings and fixtures were removed and the building was transformed into an inviting safe space for children and their families.

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Although the individual episode is no longer available, we’ve found a trailer for the series on YouTube.  Worth a watch… it contains some of the original footage from the construction in progress.

After a very busy week, the time had eventually come to reveal the centre to our families.  We decided to name our new centre after our Chair of Trustees; Tim Lamb, who had tragically died a few months earlier.  On Sunday 4th October 2012 Denise Welch officially opened the Tim Lamb Children’s Centre.

Over the past 10 years, the Tim Lamb Centre has grown in both popularity and size.  In 2012 we had approximately 100 members, whereas now we have over 1500 member families.  Since first opening, we have extended and re-modeled the design of the building, adding many new features and making better use of the space.  There have also been improvements to the garden area too, including a further £120,000 spend on the garden between 2020-2021.

We know the Tim Lamb Centre provides a lifeline to hundreds of Northeast disabled children and their families. We love seeing the joy on the faces of all the children as they explore and play in our centre.  We hear from parents; the relief they feel knowing there is somewhere safe and secure to bring their child, without judgement or ridicule.

We are very grateful for the commitment and support we have received over the last 10 years, from volunteers and supporters; local businesses and grant giving charities.  To each and every one of you, we’d like to say a big THANK YOU.

We also need to give a special mention to our founder member and voluntary CEO, Lynn McManus, who has worked tirelessly over the past 13 years.  Without Lynn’s enormous effort and the support of her wider family, the Tim Lamb Centre would simply not be here today celebrating our 10th Anniversary.

If you would like to read more about our history, please visit Our Story page

The ongoing development of activities and facilities has only been made possible through the generosity of fundraising and grants. 

If you would like to make a donation in celebration of our 10th Anniversary, we would be hugely grateful.