Carol Kerr

Easter specials at Café Connect

Visitors to Acklam Green Centre’s WIFI Café, Café Connect can enjoy some mouthwatering offers in the run up to Easter. 

Café Connect is offering a hot cross bun and a cup of tea for £1.40 and Easter themed cupcakes for 60p on 8th to 12th and 15th to 18th April.  All items are available to eat in or take away.

In addition to the Easter specials, Café Connect offers the public a range of breakfast items and lunch options including sandwiches, jacket potatoes, salad boxes, toasties and paninis.

Café Connect is open to members of the public and those using the centre’s facilities Monday to Friday with breakfast available 9am to 11.30am and lunch available 11.30am until 2.30pm. With free WIFI available throughout, Café Connect is ideal for informal meetings or to enjoy a coffee stop while out and about meeting clients.  

New fitness classes launch at centres

A number of new fitness classes are now up and running at the Acklam Green Centre.

A new mixed ability Pilates class now runs each Wednesday evening 6.30pm to 7.30pm at the Acklam Green Centre ran by Rachel Chapman Sports Therapy and Pilates. The class is aimed at people of all abilities and costs £5 per week to attend on a pay as you go basis.  Pilates is known to have many benefits for participants including improved flexibility, increased strength, improved posture and reduced stress. 

Rachel Chapman, who is running the new class, graduated from Teesside University with a degree in Sports Therapy and is a member of the Society of Sports Therapists.  She is also a Certified APPI (Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute) Pilates Matwork Instructor. She said: “Having done Pilates for many years and taught it for the last five, I have experienced some of its many benefits ranging from improved flexibility, reduced lower back pain and increased strength.  Pilates can be adapted to suit all ages and abilities and anyone who comes along and wants to work on something specific can just let me know as all of my classes are tailored to suit everyone.”

In addition, a new Zumba class is due to start at the Acklam Green Centre next Month.  Zumba With Rach is due to start in centre on Tuesday 2nd April at 6.30pm to 7.30pm.  The first two sessions are priced at £3.50 with the normal sessions price being £4.50 (or £40 for 10 sessions up front).  Week two of the class will take place on Thursday 11th April as a one off.

The two classes have started up in response to customers from the centre and local residents completing a survey about physical activity and what they would like to see on offer at the centre. Many of the respondents said they would like to see Pilates and Zumba classes on the timetable. 

New Junior Yoga and Clubbercise classes are set to commence at the Acklam Green Centre in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more information.

For more information about Rachel Chapman Sports Therapy contact 07946 324 080.

For more information about Zumba With Rach contact 07443 369959

If you’re thinking about running a fitness class or activity from the Acklam Green Centre contact 01642 811120 or email: and for the Resource Centre contact 01642 255001 or email:

New recruit set to tackle inactivity

The Acklam Green Centre and Resource Centre have recently welcomed a new member of staff who will provide more opportunities for people within the local community to get active.

In his role as Activity Officer, 24-year-old Ollie Hodgson is tasked with engaging with people from the local community and sports and activity providers to enhance the provision for inactive residents, with the aim of reducing poor health, social isolation and loneliness.  The role is funded by the Tees Valley Community Foundation’s Getting the Inactive Active grants programme, in partnership with Sport England and the National Lottery.

Ollie, who lives in Middlesbrough close to the communities he’s working among, has already began consulting with local-residents to determine what activities they would be most interested in and sourcing providers to bridge the gap. New Pilates and Zumba classes have already started up at the Acklam Green Centre as a result of the feedback.  Additionally, Ollie will recruit two volunteers from the local community to support the project and he will help to support and mentor them with associated Streetwise Sport Activator training. 

The Acklam Green Centre and the Resource Centre offer a range of rooms and sports pitches ideally suited to sports and physical activities. Ollie and the two volunteers will help promote activities and ensure activity groups become sustainable within the facilities owned by Actes Trust.

Ollie, a Sports Management graduate from Northumbria University who also works as a supply teacher, has a track record in organising successful sporting events having organised activities for schools in Darlington and a charity sportsman’s dinner in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust and he is looking forward to building upon this experience in his new role.  Ollie is himself a keen sportsman and plays for Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C where he has also worked in a marketing capacity.

Ollie commented: “I’m really pleased to have secured the role with Actes, working with the Acklam Green Centre and Resource Centre, as it offers me the chance to build on and apply the sports management experience I gained at university. Sports and fitness is something I’m really passionate about and I am looking forward to bringing new activities to the centres for residents to take part in and become more active.”

Donna Smith, facilities manager at Actes, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Ollie to the team. The role provides a unique opportunity for us to tackle issues of inactivity within the local community by offering people the chance to take part in the types of activities they enjoy the most.  It also allows us to make the most of the facilities on offer both at the Acklam Green Centre and the Resource Centre, including our large activity halls and sports pitches.”

If you are interested in running an activity at the Acklam Green Centre or Resource Centre or would like to have a say on the type of activities on offer, please contact Ollie Hodgson on Tel: 07708 984936 or email:

Repeat bookings at AGC

The Acklam Green Centre is proving popular with organisations across Tees Valley and beyond, with many of those hiring its rooms for training, conferences, meetings and events booking up on a regular basis after being impressed by the facilities on offer.

Public Health South Tees recently hosted the Dr Janice Kibirige Memorial Tees Contraception and Sexual Health (CASH) Conference for the fourth consecutive year, utilising the centre’s large conference facility, the Roseberry Hall and its two large meeting / training suites, the Taylor Suite and Brownlee Suite, for the day-long event which was attended by over 65 guests.

Jacky Booth, Public Health South Tees Contracts Manager, said: “The Acklam Green Centre is ideal for events like the CASH conference.  Not only is it really accessible with on-site parking, the various sized rooms are equipped with everything we need, allowing us to host this large-scale conference with afternoon workshops for smaller groups. The in-house catering is great too with plenty of options.  The Acklam Green Centre really does offer everything that we need.”

Other organisations that have made the Acklam Green Centre their go-to venue include North Riding County Football Association who regularly hire the centre’s Taylor Suite to run their training courses, including the forthcoming referee course starting in January.  Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust and the Tees Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), among others, also regularly hire the facility for annual meetings and away days.

Donna Smith, facilities manager at Acklam Green Centre, said: “We are delighted to continue to attract repeat business from a wide range of businesses and organisations including the NHS, Public Health and the FA for their regular meetings, conferences and training courses.

“Once people are aware of the versatile facilities here at Acklam Green Centre, including our in-house catering offer, on-site parking and full AV facilities, they tend to return which is really encouraging.  We hope to welcome even more familiar faces and new customers over the coming year.”

#EndPeriodPoverty this Christmas

As Christmas approaches Soroptimist International Middlesbrough is highlighting the issue of period poverty, which can make this happy time of year very difficult for those less fortunate.

The organisation kindly donated a supply of sanitary products to the Acklam Green Centre in the summer for girls and women who are unable to afford to purchase them themselves, and these are now available from the Resource Centre, Actes’ Trending clothing bank as well as at AGC.

The Middlesbrough branch of SI, a global volunteer movement working together to transform the lives of women and girls, is supporting the #EndPeriodPoverty campaign with the donation of the products which have been made available for those visiting the centres, as well as local-residents and Trending clients, to access discreetly.

Pauline Reed membership officer and immediate past president from SI Middlesbrough, said: “Christmas is often a time when people in difficult circumstances can struggle more than usual. Some girls and women are forced to use old clothes, toilet paper and newspapers as alternative solutions to sanitary products, while others have to rely on friends and foodbanks for handouts.

“We hope that the donation of sanitary products will ease the stress a little for people who are struggling at this time of year.”

Females who require products should visit the reception desk at Acklam Green Centre and the Resource Centre and ask for the ‘toiletries box’ where they will be handed a box to take into a private room and select their required products before handing the box back in. 

Donna Smith, centre manager for Acklam Green Centre, said: “We are pleased to continue to support SI Middlesbrough’s #EndPeriodPoverty campaign.  Christmas can be a difficult time for many, so any ladies and girls who would otherwise struggle to purchase these products for themselves are encouraged to come and speak to our reception desks before the centre’s close for Christmas on 21st, where their request will be dealt with discreetly.”

Christmas specials at Café Connect

Visitors to Acklam Green Centre’s WIFI Café, Café Connect can enjoy a range of festive treats throughout December.

Café Connect is offering a mince pie and a tea or coffee (non-speciality) for £1.25, Christmas themed cupcakes for 60p and festive soups such as curried lentil with parsnip and apple, served with a bun for £1.65 during December.  All items are available to eat in or take away.

In addition to the December specials, Café Connect also boasts a deli bar offering a range of fresh fillings for sandwiches, jacket potatoes and salad boxes as well as toasties, paninis and breakfast items.

Café Connect is open to members of the public and those using the centre’s facilities Monday to Friday with breakfast available 9am to 11.30am and lunch available 11.30am until 2.30pm. With free WIFI available throughout, Café Connect is ideal for informal meetings or to enjoy a coffee stop while out and about meeting clients.  

Dementia Friendly festive tea dance

Cleveland Alzheimers Residential Centre Limited (Cleverarc) hosted its Christmas Dementia Friendly afternoon dance at the Acklam Green Centre last week, as part of the Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough initiative.

On Wednesday 5th December 68 invited guests comprising of those living with dementia and their carers from the Middlesbrough community enjoyed a traditional afternoon tea courtesy of Café Connect, a Christmas themed quiz and live music from Class Act in the centre’s Roseberry Hall.

Brian Rowcroft, Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough Business Engagement Lead for Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough Project, said: “It was an outstanding Christmas event to round off a series of afternoon dances enjoyed by people living with dementia and their carers in Middlesbrough.  The benefits of dancing and music are well known for people living with dementia to help them stay active and re-establish memories. Many people danced when they were young, so the music provided by the exceptional Class Act provided an opportunity to relive those past experiences while enjoying themselves and getting in the Christmas spirit.

“Acklam Green Centre is an ideal venue to host our tea dances as it meets all of the requirements of a dementia friendly venue and the caring provided by Café Connect is excellent.”

For further information about Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough visit or email

Leisure space available to hire

Acklam Green Centre is urging leisure businesses starting new year ventures to consider the venue as a base for their classes and activities.

After introducing new reduced rates for those booking the centre’s facilities on evenings from 5pm onwards and at weekends, Acklam Green Centre is hoping that more individuals and groups set up at the centre, adding to the list of community groups which include martial arts classes, meditation and mindfulness sessions and Slimming World classes, which have already made the centre their home.

Donna Smith, facilities manager, said: “New year is a time when lots of people look to improve their fitness, so I would expect there to be lots of instructors getting new classes underway to meet the demand.

“If anyone is looking for a venue to run classes from, I would encourage them to take a look at Acklam Green Centre.  Our two training suites and our large Roseberry Hall are ideal for a range of activities such as yoga, zumba, HIIT classes, bootcamps, dance classes and much more. In addition, we have on-site parking and are easy to get to from the A19, so the centre is ideal for those looking to build up a customer base.

“With the new rates coming into effect in November we hope to add to our already varied timetable of leisure activities and offer even more for the public to enjoy.”

The Resource Centre’s Ford Hall is also available to hire for and is suitable for a wide range of leisure activities. Activities that have taken place in the centre include yoga and line dancing classes.  

For further information about room rates at the Acklam Green Centre or to arrange a no obligation tour of the facilities call 01642 811120 or for the Resource Centre call 01642 255001.

January launch for FA Referee Course

North Riding County Football Association is running an FA referee course at Acklam Green Centre starting on Monday 21st January 2019.

Open to anyone aged 14 and over who is interested in officiating 11 a side or 9 v 9 football, The Referees Course provides participants with an insight to the laws of the game and their practical application on the field of play. It also looks at the skills required to be a referee. Those successfully completing the course will achieve Registered Referee Status (either level 8 Youth Referee or Level 7 Junior County Referee).

The course runs from the centre on four evenings between January and April 2019 (see below link) and there is an additional requirement during Unit 5 to put what they have learnt in their lessons into a match environment. A final assessment will take place during Unit 6.

The course cost is £130 and those who are aged 16 and over will also need to complete an FA CRC (Criminal Records Check) which is included in the cost.  For further information and to book visit:

Cakes for cash at coffee morning

The Acklam Green Centre and Resource Centre recently took part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on 28th September, raising £244.00 in valuable funds for Macmillan Cancer Care in the process.

Actes staff and generous members of the public, baked and created an array of cakes and goodies including rocky road, fairy cakes, cookies, truffles and scones which were exchanged for cash donations. 

Event attendees also took part in the Place the Cherry on the Gateau game and You’re on a Roll sweepstake which added to the donations. Simon Carson Sports School donated a football as one of the prizes while the Acklam Green Centre donated a lunch voucher.

The events took place simultaneously at Café Connect in Acklam Green Centre’s atrium and in the Resource Centre’s reception area.

Donna Smith, facilities manager at Actes, said: “With a large staff team and two centres open to the public we were ideally placed to host a Macmillan Coffee Morning to raise funds and help make a difference to people facing cancer. 

“Everyone made a fantastic effort with their baking and we were pleased that so many people turned out to donate and enjoy a yummy treat or two in the process. We’re thrilled to have raised £244.00 for this fantastic cause and I’d like to thank everyone involved.”